Young and dumb vs should have known better

For mitigation purposes, at what age does the benefit of being young and dumb turn into “you were old enough to know better”?

How does this change for 18-20 year olds in the military with a clearance?

As always with this process, “it depends”.
What are the general areas you have concerns? So far you are asking us to solve for “X” with no other information.

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How much dope is involved, how many uses, is it limited to MJ?

And did you use while holding a clearance?

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Alongside what everyone else has said, another concern is how long ago was it and have you had any repeated involvements?

For example if you’ve smoked crack 5 years ago (18-20 years old as you said) while in the military, and now you’re 25-ish years old and haven’t ever used it since then…

That scenario is a lot different than if you smoked crack 1 year ago while 18-20 y/o and haven’t used it since then.

In the first scenario, you WERE young and dumb, but NOW you know better and are 5 years older.

In the second scenario, you’re only a year older. You STILL are young and dumb… so the young and dumb excuse won’t get much ground. You need to be a bit more honest at this point in regards to why you won’t be doing anything dumb like that again and what about your current life circumstances GUARANTEES that.

That should provide a bit of insight into the logic that goes through an adjudicators head.

As someone who works in the field and had a few adjudicator friends who have done this for probably 80 years in total between them. Honesty is what they look for the MOST. Unless you’re meth dealer or are currently using don’t sweat it. Honestly = best policy.