The Story of THC Laced Cookies and a DOE Contractor
I ran across an interesting security clearance appeal case involving a bag of traveling cookies laced with THC that found their way into the refrigerator of a Department of Energy (DOE) contractor with a security clearance. The contractor’s security clearance was suspended after testing positive on a drug test and he subsequently appealed through the DOE Office of Hearing and Appeals. Here are the highlights of the case:
The DOE Local Security Office (LSO) suspended the contractor’s security clearance after he tested positive for the marijuana metabolite in April 2021. Afterwards he was denied reinstatement eligibility based on the drug test. He subsequently appealed to the board. At the hearing, the contractor, corroborated by seven other witnesses, testified that the day before the drug test his partner’s daughter was called to her aunt’s home to retrieve food items from her Aunt’s refrigerator to bring home. Among those items was a gift bag of cookies the Aunt’s partner had brought home from his office. Later that day, the daughter of the house saw the cookies in the fridge and passed them out among the household members, including to the contractor. Later that evening, the child’s aunt found out from her partner that the cookies contained Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), and accordingly, she informed the contractor’s family. He promptly reported the accidental consumption to his supervisor the next day, was given a drug test, and examined by an physician, who ultimately cleared him to return to work without any restrictions.
The Administrative Judge in this case opined the accidental ingestion of THC happened under such unusual circumstances and it is unlikely to recur. The THC was consumed via an inconspicuous cookie from an individual he did not know to consume any illicit substances, and accordingly, he had no reason to believe the cookie contained any psychoactive ingredients such as THC. Once the he learned that he had ingested THC baked into the cookie, he reported the incident to his supervisor, despite the unlikelihood that he was going to be chosen to submit to a random drug test. With regard to the Bond Amendment, the judge found that the Individual’s disqualification from holding a security clearance pursuant to the Bond Amendment was eligible for a waiver. Clearance eligibility was reinstated!