Security Clearance Jobs

DEA Drug Use Policy for Potential Applicants

The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) is responsible for enforcing compliance with the Controlled Substances Act, thus, their threshold for tolerance of illegal or experimental drug use for job applicants is much lower than other federal agencies, and this includes the use of marijuana or THC products. Currently, the DEA timeline policy on past drug use states, absent any mitigating circumstances, you will not be selected for employment on a DEA contract if you used marijuana within the last three years, or if you used any other illegal drug within the past ten years.

When applying to work on a DEA contract, applicants are required to fill out drug use forms in addition to the national security position questionnaire they fill out for a security clearance. Two of these forms (a drug questionnaire/drug use statement) will ask you to provide your entire history of drug use, and whether what you disclosed is discrepant from any disclosures you made to other agencies for your clearance. Why is this important? Because they will ask for copies of previous questionnaires to compare them to your drug questionnaire to see if they match or if you were previously less than candid about your drug use.

Even though there is a push by the current administration to get marijuana off the Schedule I drug list, I don’t foresee the DEA changing its stance on marijuana or THC use for future applicants. Interestingly, the Justice Department is heading the reclassification efforts without the DEA’s concurrence on whether scientific evidence exists that shows marijuana has an accepted medical use and is not a dangerous drug. Although, the Health and Human Services concluded the risk to the public was a lot lower than that posed by other drugs.


  1. I’ve lived in San Diego for 20 years, and have worked FT as a software engineer for more than 25 years. I have a Secret clearance and passed Security+ about a year ago. I’m also a few minutes away from the large Navy facility (NIWC). I’ve worked there for 3 contracts (the first one, after a few years was interrupted by Covid).

    I’ve seen marijuana voted YES for medicinal purposes, and then more recently as a fully legal substance (in California). I’m not as young as I used to be (who isn’t?), and am very healthy other than a bit of insomnia.

    The best thing is to take a hit or two of pot and then I can get a good night’s sleep.
    I’ve never been asked to take a drug test until I received an offer a few months ago. Very good offer - I accepted and started on-boarding. A few weeks later I received notification to take the test. I purchased a kit, “guaranteed to work”, followed the instructions and still failed the test. I understand it’s still illegal at the Federal level but there should be some recourse.
    I can walk into a dozen dispensaries and buy enough to get some sleep, totally legally.

    There’s probably nothing I can do other than quit for at least a month and deal with the insomnia. There are many navy contractor jobs in this area. I’ve had 3, but now I don’t know if a test is required and don’t want to apply if that’s the case.

    An comments, suggestions, etc. would be welcome.


  2. Yeah you’re still going to end up having to report the use. And it sounds like you’re planning on hiding it.

    I get it, the law/rules on THC are dumb, but the litmus test is “will you follow them anyway”.