Marijuana Investments: Will this cost you your security clearance and your career?

  • Guideline H: Drug Involvement and Substance Misuse

Published: June 21, 2021

Over the last year, there has been a surge in interest in two distinct areas for the average citizen: marijuana and the stock market. Changes in many states’ laws have encouraged people to visit their local dispensaries more frequently as marijuana and cannabis usage becomes normalized culturally. At the same time, the last year has seen a crazy influx in amateur day traders entering the stock market on simple, easy-to-use apps like Robinhood. Perhaps you were one of the “holding the line” on old-school, brick and mortar companies, or riding the wave on cryptocurrency named after a dog. Of course, these two rapidly growing trends were going to converge, and it does not take a genius to realize it may be a good idea to invest in an industry that hasn’t fully taken off yet.

But are you sure you can do that if you are in the military, have a security clearance, or work for the federal government? Can you really invest in a business if the product is considered illegal by the federal government?

So what should you do?

The answer depends on a variety of factors. The first thing to know is that Guideline H (Drug Involvement and Substance Misuse) of the National Security Adjudication Guidelines makes it clear that the illegal possession of a controlled substance (yes, marijuana counts) or the cultivation, possession, manufacture, purchase, sale, or distribution of that controlled substance could raise a security concern and may be disqualifying for security clearance applicants. You will see this same language the next time you fill out an SF-86, in section 23, when it asks you these questions directly.

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