Elon Musk smoking weed during a podcast has put the federal government on its guard. Now, the scenario is such that even owning stocks in cannabis companies may get federal employees and contractors in security-clearance trouble, which may hamper with their jobs.
For instance, an employee of the Department of Defense who declared his cannabis-related investments on a financial disclosure form during an annual security-clearance check-up received a letter stating that he ‘betrayed’ public trust by investing in a marijuana company. Furthermore, the government gave him a month’s time to do away with his shares or it would cost him his clearance. Left with no other option, of course, the employee had to sell his shares.
Cannabis, which still remains federally illegal, is a major offense under the security-clearance guidelines.
A union officer with the American Federation of Government Employees Council 170, Timothy Maimone, believes that some ‘influential’ people are targeting investors that are putting money in marijuana companies. Maimone, though, may have a valid point as the government is not going after people who invest in companies that manufacture opioids.
These days, investing in cannabis companies has become more of rage and thus the rules pertaining to security clearances have received renewed attention, especially after the circulation of a viral memo on social-networking sites reportedly written by DoD employees. The memo reads that the US Air officials have received numerous inquiries in regard to the purchase of cannabis-related stocks. However, since The Pentagon, the headquarters of the U.S. Department of defense, consider investing in marijuana companies as deliberate “involvement” in a drug which has been deemed illegal by the federal government, one is always at the risk of losing their clearance.
In a nutshell, investing in such companies poses a question in the mind of the government that doubts an employee’s reliability, trustworthiness, sense of justice and the willingness to follow the laws, rules, and regulations.