Obtaining Security Clearance

Why Can’t I Use Marijuana and Have a Clearance?

A DoD contractor was denied eligibility for a security clearance by the DoD CAF due to concerns about her extensive history of marijuana use, falsification of her security questionnaire, and a number of delinquent student loans. The Statement of Reasons (SOR) identifying the concerns alleged the following:

–          Eight delinquent student loans totaling about $30,000 (and didn’t even get a degree)

–          Long history of marijuana use (2-3 times a week) from 2010 to August 2018

–          On the SF-86 she answered “No” to question about having used illegal drugs in the past seven years

Incredibly, while testifying in front of the Defense Office of Hearing and Appeals judge, she admitted to all of the concerns brought up in the statement of reasons. Here was her mitigation strategy: regarding the financial delinquencies, she claimed to be on a payment plan for $5.00 a month but provided no proof of payment; for the drug involvement she acknowledged knowing it was prohibited under Federal law, as well as her company policy. However, she personally didn’t see what the harm was in using marijuana. She also admitted she last used it a few days before the hearing; and regarding the falsification, she stated she was scared she wouldn’t get the clearance if she admitted to the drug use. Needless to say, none of the concerns were mitigated and the judge denied her appeal. This is one of those cases where you shake your head and wonder what the heck was she thinking and why didn’t someone tell her she was wasting her time (and others) on an appeal?


  1. Yeah . . . This likely had little to do with the drug use and everything to do with not being smart enough to hold a clearance.

  2. I think her drug use is what clouded her mind up and this is why she responded the way she did.

  3. Recent tests show stopping the use of MJ seems to restore cognition. She must have missed the article. A $5.00 monthly payback…wonder if my mortgage company would accept that?