Security Clearance Process

The Confusion Among Younger People About Drug Use and Government Policies teamed up with the Intelligence and National Security Foundation (INSF) to analyze why there is so much confusion among the younger population about drug use, specifically marijuana, and current government policies. Last month, they released a white paper, “(Uncleared) and Confused: Drug Use Confusion Trips Up Young People” that revealed 1 in 5 people under the age 30 would not pursue a national security career because of current government drug use policies.

A comprehensive survey was conducted on young professionals, age 18 to 30, which revealed that while local and State laws, as well as social norms around marijuana use have changed, federal laws have not. Ongoing drug use is still an issue for security clearance applicants. As a result, many otherwise qualified applicants tend to shy away from pursuing the path towards a national security career. Here are some key findings from the survey:

·         Only 4% of respondents understand the federal government’s policy on marijuana use for applicants and current clearance holders

·         15% would be unwilling to refrain from using marijuana to get/or keep a clearance

·         30% have avoided applying or pulled an application due to marijuana use

At the end of the day, it is obvious drug use policy has resulted in a shrinking talent pool for jobs that require a security clearance. In closing, the paper found that agencies who require people with security clearances to fill national security jobs need more young people to enter their ranks. There are some interesting statistics throughout the paper, so take a look for yourself here.


  1. It’s time to change the policy to match state laws and social norms

  2. We should definitely give our nation’s secrets to people high on marijuana! While we’re at it, we should let the alcoholics drive the company shuttle bus! Lol

  3. I have a feeling that Even marijuana becomes federally legal I think they will make federal employees and military sign a policy that we still cannot use.

    I think they will no longer count it against you for a clearance if you used before you were a federal employee.

    But I could see them making it against policy for federal employees to use marijuana.