Prior Drug-Use Guidelines
With the legalization of marijuana in several states, does CBP still consider an applicant’s marijuana use when making a determination for employment?
Yes. Marijuana is still an illegal drug under federal law. CBP abides by federal law, so regardless of individual state laws, use of marijuana can affect your eligibility for employment.
The 2018 Farm Bill removed hemp from the definition of marijuana within the Controlled Substances Act. As a result, hemp-derived CBD products containing less than a 0.3% concentration of delta-9-tetrahydocannabinol (THC) on a dry weight basis may be legally used and consumed under federal law. However, CBD products are not federally regulated and, regardless of what the label says, can, contain illegal amounts of THC, which is an active ingredient in marijuana. In a study cited by the Department of Health and Human Services, 69% of the 84 tested CBD products were incorrectly labeled, and some contained unlabeled cannabinoids including THC. The presence of THC, whether introduced through the use of marijuana or through a CBD product, can cause a positive drug test result.
CBP takes many considerations regarding previous illegal drug use into account in order to determine the suitability of an applicant. These considerations include, but are not limited to, frequency and recency of use, circumstances surrounding the use, the age of the person at time of use, contributing societal conditions, likelihood of recurrence, and/or a demonstrated intent to not use illegal drugs in the future. Regarding the recency of use, there is some use, as defined in the question immediately below, which will result in the applicant being found unsuitable. However, outside of this limited timeframe, recency of use will be just one factor which is considered when making a suitability determination about previous illegal drug use.
If recency of illegal drug use is a consideration, does CBP set any parameters regarding most recent use of illegal drugs?
Yes. CBP has guidelines which have an unfavorable recommendation for employment if the applicant has used marijuana, anabolic steroids, or misused prescription drugs (used someone else’s prescription, used a prescription for recreational as opposed to medical purposes, etc.) within the 24 months prior to application to work for CBP. CBP guidelines have an unfavorable recommendation for employment if the applicant has used other Schedule I-V drugs (cocaine, methamphetamine, heroine, etc.) within the 36 months prior to application to work for CBP.
Does CBP have a set number of times an applicant has used illegal drugs, which would automatically disqualify them?
No. CBP takes many considerations into account in order to determine the suitability of an applicant. These considerations include, but are not limited to, frequency and recency of use, circumstances surrounding the use, the age of the person at time of use, contributing societal conditions, likelihood of recurrence, and/or a demonstrated intent to not use illegal drugs in the future. However, CBP may use quantity of use as a factor when making a determination.
Does seeking treatment and/or counseling for drug use/abuse automatically disqualify a person from employment with CBP?
No. In fact, treatment for drug use/abuse is a positive step in showing intent to not use illegal drugs in the future. However, treatment/rehabilitation is only one consideration in determining whether an individual is suitable for employment when the applicant has previously used illegal drugs.
YES! Integrity is a core value of CBP. It is important that an applicant be honest about any/all previous drug use during the entire hiring process (application, SF-86/85P, background investigation, polygraph exam). It is possible that previous illegal drug use may be mitigated, where as dishonesty and/or falsifying federal application or background investigation forms will not be tolerated.