s the federal government struggles to recruit young people, a recent survey found that 30 percent of those between the ages of 18 and 30 have either declined to apply or withdrawn applications for jobs because of strict marijuana policies required for security clearances.
The poll, published on the unofficial marijuana holiday April 20 by ClearanceJobs and the Intelligence and National Security Foundation (INSF), interviewed young adults about federal employment policies, focusing on cannabis.
Twenty-five percent say the government’s marijuana policy would prevent them from seeking employment requiring a security clearance in the future.
Participants were first asked whether they’d consider working in a federal position that requires security clearance, and almost 80 percent said they either would or might consider applying; 40 percent also said that they’ve used marijuana in the past year.
One of the most notable findings is that 20 percent of participants said they’ve declined to apply for federal jobs because of the government’s restrictive cannabis policies. Another 10 percent said they’ve withdrawn applications because of the marijuana rules.
The survey also found that 25 percent said the government’s marijuana policy would prevent them from seeking employment requiring a security clearance in the future. While 39 percent said they’d be willing to abstain from cannabis in order to secure a federal job, 18 percent said they wouldn’t. And 15 percent said that they wouldn’t stop using marijuana after getting a security clearance.
Interestingly, most of the panel didn’t have a firm grasp on what the government’s cannabis policy actually is. Sixteen percent said that any marijuana use automatically disqualifies applicants for security clearance, 37 percent said there’s no eligibility impact, 24 percent said it is one of several factors that are considered for clearance, and 23 percent said they didn’t know.
Similarly, there’s confusion about the policies for people who’ve already obtained security clearances, with 9 percent saying those individuals can use marijuana anywhere, 31 percent saying they can use in a legal jurisdiction, 33 percent saying cannabis use is prohibited, and 26 percent saying they didn’t know.
While marijuana employment policies under federal prohibition remain strict, various agencies have moved to loosen requirements as more states have legalized.
Only 4 percent of participants correctly answered both questions about what the federal government’s security clearance rules are for applicants and those who are already cleared.
The survey involved interviews with 905 adults aged 18-30 living in Virginia, Maryland, the District of Columbia, California, Florida, Texas and Colorado. The interviews took place in February. The margin of error is +/- 3.23 percentage points.
While marijuana employment policies under federal prohibition remain strict, various agencies have moved to loosen requirements as more states have enacted legalization.
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Many Young Adults Won’t Apply for Federal Jobs Due to Cannabis Policies