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Can owning stock in marijuana companies affect my security clearance?

Can Owning Stock In Marijuana Companies Affect My Security Clearance?

Using marijuana is a big no-no in the military — but even owning stocks in cannabis-related companies could put your career at risk.

That may seem far-fetched if you’re not actually using the drug, but recent reports have indicated red flags from such investments. From the federal government’s perspective, there are several reasons why.

Security clearances, vital to many military jobs and even post-military employment, are subject to regular review. Maintaining them can be complicated — investigations scrutinize a person’s character and loyalty to the United States. The thorough background investigation process includes reporting all financial holdings.

The military doesn’t allow marijuana use or possession, even in states where it’s allowed, because the federal government still considers the drug illegal. Moreover, the National Security Adjudicative Guidelines, which apply to security clearances, list drug involvement — or “expressed intent to continue drug involvement” — as a condition that could raise a security concern or be disqualifying. Drug involvement, including in cultivation, processing, manufacture, purchase, sale or distribution, prompts questions about whether an individual will follow laws, rules and regulations.

Officially, the Pentagon hasn’t drawn a hard line as to the effects that cannabis-connected investments could have on security clearances. Rather, the issue will be addressed as part of normal policy updates, a Department of Defense spokeswoman told MarketWatch. However, it’s a bold risk to funnel your money into cannabis companies’ shares. That doesn’t mean you need to scour your retirement portfolios for index funds that may include a connection with marijuana — they probably do — but it does mean that intentionally investing in a companies tied to a drug the federal government deems illegal probably isn’t a great idea.

The government leaves no wiggle room when it comes to who can access information involving national security: “(The Diplomatic Security Service) shall grant national security eligibility only when the information demonstrates that such eligibility is clearly consistent with the interests of the United States. Any doubt shall be resolved in favor of U.S. national security.” Keep that last line in mind if you’re tempted to risk the hot investment.

Invictus Law lawyers offer the powerful combination of a high-caliber defense and military expertise. Please contact us online or at 757-337-2500 ; we offer free consultations. We are happy to provide appointments via phone or video chat to comply with social distancing recommendations.

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