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Why are some U.S. workers banned from investing in cannabis?

Jun 21, 2022 | Media Partners, The GrowthOp

This post is presented by our media partner The Growth Op
View the original article here.

For those in roles within the federal government, it is also important to remember that one’s finances can be evaluated at any time.

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Even with many U.S. states legalizing recreational cannabis, there are still several careers that prohibit buying and using marijuana.

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After all, the plant is still a Schedule I substance at the federal level. While these policies can, at times, appear to be unfair, they are at least straightforward.

Recently, however, there have been messages and instructions sent by federal organizations, including the Joe Biden administration, suggesting that not only will using marijuana potentially get a person fired, but any financial investments in the cannabis industry may get that individual sacked as well.


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This “clarification” has some people wondering how broad this policy is, and whether or not mutual funds set aside to secure one’s future may actually be putting security clearance and jobs in jeopardy.

Those serving in the U.S. military, working for the federal government or in a position that requires specific federal security clearance are currently prohibited from investing in the cannabis industry. But what does that really mean?

The general consensus is that as long as a person is not consciously investing in marijuana (that is, choosing marijuana stocks intentionally), then there will likely be little to worry about.

According to ClearanceJobs, a network for professionals with federal security clearance, the level of one’s investment and that person’s knowledge of the investment are both major factors.

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With regards to owning a mutual fund that happens to invest in marijuana stocks, the site states that “unless you’re personally selecting those stocks, clearance-holders likely don’t need to be concerned.”

A good rule of thumb is that as long as a person is not a willing and active participant in the purchase of these stocks, one should be safe. Still, it is important to remember that it all comes down to how things appear.

If a person works for the government or possesses a particular security clearance for the job, it is not uncommon to be required to release information about finances and investments. So, while marijuana remains illegal on a federal level in the U.S., it is imperative that a person’s investments look squeaky clean.

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As the popular federal government information resource site FEDweek states, “Be careful to avoid any federally illegal investments. Think about how your investments would look if they were being evaluated by someone who doesn’t know you.”

These policies have even come into play in the White House. According to an internal executive branch presentation obtained by Politico, “Eligibility may be negatively impacted if an individual knowingly and directly invests in stocks or business ventures that specifically pertain to marijuana growers and retailers.”

The presentation went on to say that these willing investments in cannabis could show “questionable judgment” and “an unwillingness to comply with laws.” This demonstrates that currently getting caught investing in cannabis could very much be deemed guilty by association.

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For those in roles within the U.S. federal government, it is also important to remember that one’s finances can be evaluated at any time. In other words, these financial background checks do not simply happen when a person accepts a position or obtains a new role.

According to military.com, “Clearances now undergo continuous evaluation, so your ownership of such stocks may pop up and raise a big, red flag at any time.” The article goes further, to suggest that because ownership of cannabis stock is seen as a violation of policy as a member of the military, a person could lose his or her clearance, and even the job, a decision to which there would be no recourse.

Even as more U.S. states have legalized marijuana, the current prohibition on cannabis still casts a long shadow on many policies. There is some evidence that the strict federal stance on marijuana may loosen in the not-too-distant future. But as of now, investing in cannabis is off limits for many employees in the U.S.

The FreshToast.com, a U.S. lifestyle site that contributes lifestyle content and, with their partnership with 600,000 physicians via Skipta, medical marijuana information to The GrowthOp.

Subscribe to  Weekend Dispensary, a new weekly newsletter from The GrowthOp.

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