Background Investigations

Public Trust Applicant Denied Eligibility Due to Continued Intent to Smoke Weed

Not to sound like a broken record here, but it amazes me when people want to work for the federal government as a civilian employee or contractor, but haven’t figured out that marijuana use is illegal at the federal level regardless of whether it is legal in their state. This not only applies to security clearance holders and applicants, but to all federal civilians and to those who are on a contract conducting work
on behalf of the government. The Defense Office of Hearing and Appeals (DOHA) also reviews cases pertaining to eligibility for placement into public trust positions. Here are the highlights of a recent appeal:

The contractor’s position with his company was designated as requiring public trust eligibility. On the questionnaire he filled out for the background investigation, he disclosed his history of daily marijuana
use from 2016 to the date he filled out the application. He also noted he would continue to smoke weed because it was enjoyable. During the security interview with the background investigator a few months
later, he again stated his intent to keep smoking marijuana and had done so up to that point. Naturally, the government denied eligibility to work on behalf of the government in a public trust position.

Amazingly, the contractor thought his appeal to DOHA would overturn the initial denial despite his continued intent to keep smoking weed and offering no new information that might indicate he finally
understands that working for the government and smoking weed is not compatible. Even more amazing is the fact that the DoD component involved actually submitted his background investigation, knowing he was an illegal drug user with no intent to stop. That certainly was a waste of $420 dollars.

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