Security Clearance Denial

Use of THC Products for Back Pain Results in Clearance Denial

Security clearance holders receive an initial security briefing and subsequent annual briefings that provide them information on their responsibilities, what kind of things they should avoid, and what they are required to report. It is well known that marijuana, as well as CBD and THC extracts, are off limits for clearance holders regardless of whether legal in their state of residence. With all of the CBD, THC, and vape products out their easily accessible, it is tempting for some to acquire and experiment with them. A Department of Energy (DOE) contractor lost his clearance eligibility doing just that. Here are the highlights of his case:

The DOE contractor had a clearance since 2008. Over the years back problems popped up and in August 2021 he was prescribed opioids for pain relief. Fearing he would become addicted, he researched alternative means of pain management and his doctor suggested CBD products. He didn’t think they would be enough and declined the prescription from his doctor. His wife used a THC product for her own pain management and suggested he try them as well. He came up with the idea of using a combination of CBD and THC rub-on product, as well as a vaping pen. He didn’t think the THC would show up on a drug test, but that is exactly what happened three months later when selected for a random urinalysis at work. A retest confirmed THC was still present in his system.

The DOE judge who reviewed the appeal noted the contractor was a long-time clearance holder and knew using THC products was illegal under federal law. The fact that his wife continues to use THC products and the contractor’s vague and contradictory testimony on when he last used THC products and stated intent to stop using in the future was less than credible. The contractor did not produce any more recent drug tests to corroborate his claims, thus, no evidence of rehabilitation was present. Under the guidelines of the Bond Amendment the judge declined to reinstate clearance eligibility.