I might be offered a position as a software developer at a company that produces software for the cannabis industry. My son is an officer in the Navy and has security clearance. I'm wondering if me taking a job in this industry would have repercussions for him. I live in Washington state where recreational cannabis is legal, but it is still considered illegal at the federal level, so I'm not sure what that means as far as it concerns my son's clearance.

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    Sorry - we generally don't handle questions of legality here. You could try law.stackexchange.com instead.
    – HorusKol
    Commented Aug 11, 2018 at 1:30
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    Seems to me this falls under the umbrella of questions an HR rep who deals with security clearance would know about and is therefore on-topic. Commented Aug 11, 2018 at 4:53
  • @AffableAmbler Perhaps a general question on the concept of guilt-by-association in security clearances might be on-topic but this question is very specific and essentially asking for legal advice on one particular situation which we (and most HR reps) aren't equipped to do.
    – Lilienthal
    Commented Aug 11, 2018 at 7:58
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    By "cannabis industry", do you mean "illegal drug cartels" or "legalized medical industry"?
    – nick012000
    Commented Aug 11, 2018 at 9:38
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    @nick012000 I think he is not talking about either. I think is is talking about the cannabis industry which is legal under Washington state law and illegal under US federal law.
    – Ben Mz
    Commented Aug 11, 2018 at 17:24

3 Answers 3


I believe that if your son has a security clearance, then there should be a person responsible for handling that clearance, and that person should be able to answer such questions. Or questions like "I want to go on holiday to China / South Korea / North Korea, will that affect my clearance".

Most things that might affect a security clearance are not either Ok or lead to loss of clearance, there might be things that speak against your sons clearance but are fine if there are not too many. That person might know that your son is either perfectly clean, or very close to not getting a clearance, so the same thing might be fine in one case and not fine in the other case. (For example an uncle who is a suspected drug dealer may be fine on its own, dad working in the cannabis industry may be fine on its own, but both together might lead to loss of clearance - hypothetical example).


Probably not, but there is a slim chance it could.


How close are you? Does he live in your home? Does he provide financial support? All of these things will be contributing factors in the decision.

If he already has a clearance it will be much less of an issue.

Another thing to consider, working for a software developer may be far enough removed from the actual cannabis industry that it won't be a problem.

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    The only thing I'd add is that @user91157 needs to talk to his son if he hasn't already so that his son can talk to his security officer about the issue in advance. Commented Aug 11, 2018 at 16:33

I'm going to say it largely depends. If you look at past historical cases, http://ogc.osd.mil/doha/industrial/2018.html you can see that sometimes the parent or family member's association affects the clearance. Especially if the parent is potentially associated with bad countries or bad actors.

Generally speaking though, what your family does won't affect your clearance unless it raises a doubt. One of those will be how much he interacts with you.

It's impossible to give you a sure answer, though. However, common sense, if cannabis is legal in your area, and you're operating legally, then you are not committing a crime. However, at the federal level, cannabis is considered illegal, even medical cannabis.

  • clearancejobsblog.com/…
    – Lumberjack
    Commented Aug 11, 2018 at 18:19
  • @Lumberjack that article only discusses use by the person applying for a clearance, not any behavior by family members. I don't see how it's relevant. Commented Aug 12, 2018 at 0:02
  • Just for anyone, who is reading this question that wants a security clearance, just because the drug is legal in your state doesn’t meant it’s legal at the federal level. Until otherwise made legal, the use of this particular drug, isn’t allowed even in those states where it’s been made legal. Make no mistake, the use of this drug, will result in the loss of your security clearance.
    – Donald
    Commented Aug 13, 2018 at 6:19
  • @DanNeely The article is relevant because it talks about the fact that "Legal Cannabis" is still viewed as an illegal drug by the US Federal government.
    – Lumberjack
    Commented Aug 13, 2018 at 12:21
  • @Lumberjack That fact is given in the question itself, as part of the premise for why it's being asked. Commented Aug 13, 2018 at 12:46

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