New CBD Use and Security Clearance Issues

By John V. Berry, Esq.,

The Director of National Intelligence (DNI) recently issued new guidance for federal agencies and security clearance holders on marijuana and cannabidiol (CBD) usage, in addition to investments in marijuana businesses. The guidance arguably clarifies some aspects of these issues, but it also raises new questions about the use of CBD for security clearance holders. Personal use of these substances and investments in marijuana businesses are already murky issues for security clearance decisions because of the increasing number of states where marijuana has become medicinally and/or recreationally legalized, given that marijuana still remains federally illegal as a controlled substance.

The three areas covered in the DNI’s new guidance include:

  • Usage of CBD products;
  • Use of marijuana; and
  • Investments in marijuana.

Use of CBD: The most important update provided involves the use of CBD products by security clearance holders and applicants. The new guidance discusses the fact that the Agriculture Improvement Act excluded hemp with a delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) concentration of not more than 0.3% from the definition of marijuana within the Controlled Substances Act. So, although CBD products may (and often do) contain some low level of THC, it is not necessarily a problem in theory because of that Act’s allowance for amounts lower than .3%.

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