Top U.S. Intelligence Official Says Security Clearance Not Based on Past Cannabis Use

A top U.S. intelligence officer recently reaffirmed the federal government does not deny security clearances for employees based on their past cannabis use.

Full story after the jump.

A top U.S. Intelligence official recently reaffirmed the federal government’s policy to not deny security clearances for employees based on their past cannabis use, Marijuana Moment reports.

The comment came during a Senate Intelligence Committee hearing when Director of National Intelligence (DNI) Avril Haines answered a question posed by Sen. Ron Wyden (D) about the agency’s cannabis policy.

“We recognize, frankly, that many states have legalized or decriminalized marijuana use and wanted to be sure that we’re not disqualifying people solely for that purpose in that context. We obviously believe that we want to have the talent that exists in America — and when somebody is using [cannabis] experimentally in a legal state that’s something that shouldn’t on its own essentially disqualify.” — Haines, via Marijuana Moment

The senator’s question related to a 2021 DNI memo that advised federal employers not to reject security clearances based on an employee’s past cannabis use and use “discretion” when looking at cannabis stocks in their portfolio.

Last year, Sen. Wyden attempted to pass a provision that barred the federal government from holding an employee’s past cannabis use against them when assessing their potential security clearance. Although a watered-down version — which would have only applied to individuals working in the intelligence community and not the larger federal government workforce — did pass the Intelligence Committee, the amendment was ultimately stripped from the intelligence bill before it was attached to the Defense Authorization Act (NDAA).

“We continue to approach this from a whole-person perspective,” Haine said during the hearing. “And we expect if anybody takes the job to comply with our policies and our laws in a trusted position.”

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