Security Clearance Denial

Clearance Holder Admits to Drug Use 1,000+ Times: Will Candor Help to Maintain Clearance?

Illegal drug use appeals are piling up at the Defense Office of Hearing and Appeals, mostly due to marijuana being legalized for recreational and medical use in more and more states. As noted by the Director of National Intelligence in a memorandum published in 2021, marijuana use in and of itself is not automatically disqualifying but must be evaluated on the circumstances and future intent. Most of the appeals denied by DOHA for illegal drug use are because of the applicants stated intent to keep using marijuana in the future. Other drugs used illegally are evaluated on a much stricter basis. Here are the highlights of an appeal that stretches the boundaries.

The applicant admitted to using marijuana daily starting in 2015 while in college up until March 2022 when he realized its use would impact him working for the federal government. He estimated he had used marijuana over 1,000 times during this time period. But that’s not all! He also used other drugs illegally. Here is a list of what he admitted to:

  • Cocaine
  • Hallucinogenic mushrooms
  • Lysergic Acid Diethylamide (LSD)
  • Adderall
  • Vyvanse
  • Tramadol
  • Vicodin
  • Xanax

The DOHA judge noted the applicant’s stated intent to cease all illegal drug use, his character references, and negative drug tests, but also pointed out that the applicant was working for a defense contractor for a year and still using illegal drugs before stopping. He also noted that it had only been 14 months since the last use and that he had used drugs almost daily during the 7 years prior. Although the applicant was candid and honest about his drug use, his judgement and level of maturity precluded granting eligibility for access to classified information – appeal denied.