As long as you don’t smoke it, can you invest in marijuana companies and maintain a security clearance?
The Pentagon is looking more closely at the issue now as more military personnel raise questions on the policy.
After the Facebook group “Air Force Forum” published emails in the last few weeks showing that personnel with marijuana companies in their investment portfolios faced the risk of losing their security clearances, DoD has faced questions over its approach. More states are passing laws legalizing pot, and investors find the marijuana business irresistible.
But under federal law, marijuana is still an illegal substance.
To date, DoD has deferred to looking at the “whole person concept” when weighing an individual’s trustworthiness to hold a clearance. Under those guidelines, owning a pot farm may be an issue, while learning that your managed mutual fund invests in gummies may not. But those lines aren’t clear.
“While, currently, no official DOD guidance specific to financial involvement in marijuana exists, the Department continues to research the topic. Any changes will be addressed through normal policy update procedures,” DoD spokeswoman Army Lt. Col. Audricia M. Harris said in a statement.
The lack of specific guidance may soon change as DoD’s Standards of Conduct Office (SOCO) weighs in, according to an email published today by Air Force Forum.
“SOCO hopes to put out guidance soon,” Shannon McGuire, counsel for the Air Force Ethics Office wrote in a March 6 email obtained by the the Forum. “So please continue to stand by. I know there are a lot of emails floating around on this issue. Continue to have your legal offices hold off on certifying financial disclosures with marijuana -related holdings for the time being.”
Tara Copp is the Pentagon Bureau Chief for Military Times and author of the award-winning military nonfiction "The Warbird: Three Heroes. Two Wars. One Story."