Navy Enlistment Policy for Prior Drug Usage

Navy Drug Waivers

There is not a day that goes by that I do not receive an email or comment that goes something like these few examples, “How many times could I have smoked marijuana and still be eligible for an intel job?”, “My charges say I was arrested for possession with intent, but it was my friends stuff he had. Do I need a waiver?”, and just today, “Any information on whether a single instance of hallucinogenic mushroom use is waiverable?” As those of you know based on the email responses, I will not describe to you how many times you could have used a drug and still be within waiverable limits. I expect you to be honest with the Navy, and I do not want to influence an answer by showing limits.

The Department of the Navy’s policy on pre-service drug use/abuse;

Department of the Navy policy is that drug and alcohol dependent applicants, current drug and alcohol abusers, and those individuals whose pre-service abuse of drugs and/or alcohol indicates a proclivity to continue abuse in the service, are not permitted to enter the naval service. The Navy recognizes that some people have clear potential to become creditable performers despite past exposure to drug and/or alcohol abuse. Recruiting procedures must include positive measures to identify and screen out drug and/or alcohol abusers at the point of application for enlistment.

The Navy’s policy is pretty clear. If you desire to continue use or abuse controlled substances, the Navy does not want you, period. But if you have stopped the use, completely stopped, and have no desire or intent to illegally use or abuse controlled substances again, you may be eligible for a waiver that, if granted, would allow you to serve in the United States Navy.

The use of controlled substances such as, narcotics, depressants, psychedelic, stimulant, synthetic/designer, hallucinogenic (LSD is two year) is a minimum of a one year waiting period after use before a waiver could be considered. If you ever tested positive for any illegal drugs or alcohol at the Military Entrance Processing Station (MEPS), there are no waivers, no do overs, you’re done. So, where you can process after using marijuana, but understand it had better have been your last time and you had better not have any residual THC still flowing through your veins when you go to MEPS. Consider yourself notified.

If you have ever been a distributor, trafficker, supplier, seller, for profit or not, of illegal drugs, and even if you are arrested for possession with the just the intent to distribute of illegal drugs or any controlled substance that you are not legally certified to distribute, you are banned from joining the military forever. There are no waivers, no do overs, you’re done.

If you have been convicted or adversely adjudicated for two or more drug or alcohol offenses, you require a drug or alcohol waiver. Keep in mind that an alcohol and/or drug offense waiver is in addition to any moral/civil waiver that you may also need.

The Department of the Navy’s policy of in-service drug use/abuse is ZERO TOLERANCE. One time and you are done; no do overs, no waivers, done, and in most cases, say goodbye to any benefits you may have earned – even the GI-Bill and VA mortgage benefits.

Policy UPDATE as of November 5, 2013:

“Program eligibility has been revised for AIRR, EOD, ND, SO and SB ratings. BUPERS-32 has authorized Navy Recruiting Command (N32) to approve program eligibility determinations for drug abuse offenses involving marijuana only. Approvals may be made on a case-by-case basis for applicants with no more than one misdemeanor drug abuse offense (e.g. possession of marijuana or paraphernalia). Drug abuse offenses involving drugs other than marijuana will not be considered. Use of marijuana while in DEP will result in loss of AIRR, EOD, ND, SO or SB rating guarantee for those previously approved with a drug abuse offense. Policies involving use of other drugs remain unchanged.”

“For the Nuclear Field Program, any marijuana use while in DEP is disqualifying. No waivers are authorized.”

This is about as detailed as I will get on the subject of drug waivers.

Read Comments (1,343)

RSS feed for comments on this post.

1,343 Responses to “Navy Drug Waivers”

  1. Phil says:

    3 months clean of pot in which i smoked everyday for almost 10 months. I also blew Oxycontin every once in awhile along with other random pills but have been sober of that for more then a year. What are my chances of getting into the Navy?

  2. Joe says:

    Thanks. I know I’ll probably need an alcohol waiver for that, but how exactly will that increase my chances of getting rejected, if at all? It’s a minor incident, all considered…

  3. NCCM(ret) says:


    If you are otherwise a good candidate, your chances of being rejected for that charge are slim.

  4. NCCM(ret) says:


    Not familiar with the term, “blew Oxycontin”, but that along with your use of “been sober” indicates you may have required some sort of drug treatment??

  5. chris says:

    Hi I am in the process of joining the navy something I always wanted to do in life. I’ve made the mistake of getting fired from my two previous jobs. One for tardiness. The other is theft, I was taking snacks out of the lounge and was going to pay them back until one day they said enough was enough and I was fired. I had to write a statements and was ordered to pay them back, in which I did as soon as possibly. My recruiter says to either leave the job out, or the navy wont care about that incident. Im being honest and told the recruiter what happened. I don’t do drugs or anything stupid except the whole snack thing. So my question is will I get disqualified for something so stupid??

  6. NCCM(ret) says:


    Make sure the charge is listed – you would be eligible for a waiver.

  7. Holmes says:

    Hello, I was wondering if I was charged with possession with intent to sell to marijuana less than 20 grams, would I still be able to enlist into the navy or navy reserve? All of the events happened when I was about 14 or 15, haven’t been in any trouble since, and I graduated from high school with honors.

  8. NCCM(ret) says:


    Anyone with an adversely adjudicated charge of possession of any controlled substance with intent to distribute, including marijuana, is ineligible for enlistment, and there is no waiver consideration authorized.

  9. chris says:

    There wasn’t a charge no police were involved I still put it on the form because I wanted to be honest about it. Will this allow me to join navy?? I payed them back on a agreement between me and loss prevention. But the cops weren’t involved I payed them shortly after. I know it was a stupid decision im just hoping the navy under stands.

  10. NCCM(ret) says:


    If you are otherwise qualified, you should not have a problem with the waiver.

  11. Jon says:

    Hi, I’m wondering if I’d be eligible to enlist as an officer in the navy. I used marijuana regularly for 15 years from ages 16-31. Also took a slew of recreational drugs in the past but never habitually. I’m 32 now and haven’t used any drug in over six months and am done with them. I have no arrests ever. Got 3 traffic tickets over 7 years ago, all I paid on time. I was prescribed anti-depressants for about 3.5 years, got off them about 4 months ago. I still currently take a low dose of PRN Klonopin as prescribed by my doctor. Solid employment record, all employers will provide positive references.

  12. NCCM(ret) says:


    Even if you were able to get a waiver for your previous drug usage, you would not be eligible to join the Navy because of your depression diagnosis and the fact that you are still taking medication for it. Before you could even have any shot at passing the physical, your treatment for depression, including any medications, would have to be stopped for a minimum of 3 years before the medical waiver – if the documents warrant – could be considered. If you were deemed cured today and lead a perfect life for the 3 years post treatment, you would then be beyond the maximum age to join (before your 35th birthday).

  13. Pat says:


    I’m hoping you may be able to answer a few questions for me. I’m 24 years old, have a bachelor’s in linguistics, and currently working a full time job while earning a certificate in paralegal studies. I’m also in really good shape and work out three times a week. I was treated for anxiety and depression in highschool. I was on medication and in therapy. At 18, I stopped it all together because I felt I didn’t need it anymore. I scored well on the ASVAB in highschool and the military has been in the back of my mind since then.

    However, my college years were rather wild. I smoked marijuana frequently and did one other hard drug infrequently but more than what could qualify as experimenting. I was never addicted, however, and did them recreationally.

    However, I still did exceptionally well in college. I graduated 2nd in my class and maintained a 4.0 GPA.

    It’s been three years since I touched drugs. At the time, I was under the false impression that as long as I could pass a drug test, that I’d be alright. In fact, many of the people I associated with when I used to do drugs were in the National Guard, and I saw them doing drugs as well. They’d just “clear” out their systems using expensive drinks from health stores to pass drug tests.

    Years later, the military has moved from the back of my mind to the forefront. Everyday, for the past year, it’s all I can think about. I loved linguistics in school and would love to use what I learned in the service. I find the ability to travel the world so exciting. Anyway, now that I’m doing the research it’s become apparent to me that this drug use could very well disqualify me from joining.

    I brought it up to a family member who is a recruiter in the service and was told: “just say no” to a recruiter. I’m uncomfortable doing this. I was told the background checks are not that in-depth and and since there’s nothing on my record, I’d be fine. My credit is good and I don’t have a criminal record–not even a speeding ticket. However, my research has led me to believe that specializing as a cryptologic linguist would require a high security clearance. This is another reason I wouldn’t want to lie.

    The service is my dream, and I don’t want to get in because I lied. It doesn’t sit well with me at all. The bottom line is I’m a changed person, and at one time I did make very bad decisions. I’ve happily moved past it all and am solely focused on doing the right thing for my future.

    I’m hesitant to speak with a recruiter in person at this point because, I don’t really know if I even have a chance. I think it’s wonderful you have answered so many questions posed by people on here, and would really appreciate your response.

    Thank you.

  14. NCCM(ret) says:


    Experimental use of stimulant or depressant drugs, narcotics, hallucinogenic, or psychedelic drugs over one year ago would require a waiver, as would the use of marijuana over 6 months ago (anything sooner would be disqualifying) for the cryptology ratings. Enlistment and or program waivers for drug usage greater than what would be determined to be experimental would not receive wavier consideration at this time.

  15. Pat says:

    Thank you for your response, it’s good to know where I stand.

    Have a great weekend,


  16. Amy says:

    Hi i am 22 years old. I got expelled from High school for smoking pot. But didn’t do any jail time or got it put on my records. I have my GED and college credits. Do I need a waiver or is it better to not say anything???

  17. NCCM(ret) says:


    It is never a good idea to withhold information during the enlistment process. As a matter of fact, the recruiters would be required to get your high school transcripts because you did not finish.

  18. Zachary Reeves says:

    Hey if ive done drugs before (I dont do them now and never will again) will i still be eligible for the Navy SEALs? please i need an honest answer thank you

  19. NCCM(ret) says:


    Drug use other than the experimental use of marijuana is disqualifying for the SO rating.

  20. Zachary Reeves says:

    What if i have only done marijuana for a short period of time many years ago?

  21. Roger says:

    I smoked marijuana as a kid for a reasonable amount of time. I was suspended from school for it and also got a possession ticket which was dismissed. When I was smoking marijuana I got myself a medical prescription for it, but no longer smoke. I am now a beach lifeguard and can not see myself working in any civilian job. All of my actions took place before I was 18 and I was wondering if my past actions would disqualify me from joining the navy, particularly the AIRR division because it is my passion to help people in intense situations. Also I was wondering what a security clearance was and if there was no way passing it now.

    thank you, Roger

  22. NCCM(ret) says:


    You are not eligible for AIRR. No waiver authorized.

    You would require a drug waiver for your marijuana use and a moral/criminal waiver for the possession to enlist in the military.

  23. orient says:


    I’ve been reading through the comments on this page. I just wanted to say I found them very helpful.

    After speaking with a recruiter and taking the practice ASVAB, my recruiter recommended I look into the NAVY’s nuke program, which I am very interested in. When I was in college, and for awhile after I finished, I smoked weed (for about a year total). Sometimes daily, sometimes just a couple times a week. I have not smoked in over a year, and I do not plan to smoke again in the future. After reading the previous posts, it seems like this is not disqualifying if I get a waiver. Is that the case? I mentioned this to my recruiter already but he did not ask me how many times/for how long. I have begun also started filling out the paperwork for a TS security clearance, and I was honest about my prior usage.

    What are your thoughts/opinions on this? I am a 23 year old male with a spotless criminal records, and good grades in college.


  24. NCCM(ret) says:


    The amount of usage you describe will require a waiver from the highest level for the Nuclear Power program.

  25. orient says:

    Thanks for the reply! Is this waiver going to be hard to obtain? If the waiver were denied, would I be able to enlist with a different job that does not have such a high security clearance level?

    Thanks again!

  26. Alex says:

    I was cited for possession of a usable amount of marijuana in October of 2009 (I can count the number of times I smoked before that point on one hand). Prior to that, I had two citations for underage possession of alcohol. I haven’t smoked in two years and am, at best, a casual drinker. I have a BA with 3.4 GPA, am bilingual, and really want to apply to Navy OCS when I’m finished with my master’s degree in 2013. What are my chances of getting the waivers necessary to join and what restrictions will I continue to face even if I get the waivers?

  27. NCCM(ret) says:


    I do not know what your chances would be for a commission, I suggest you contact your local officer recruiter for a detailed response.

  28. Ruby says:

    I am a 34 yo female who has a history of methamphetamine abuse (never arrested except for an alchol related DUI in October 2010). I stopped using methamphetamine as of 7/10/11 and quit drinking 7/31/11. I have a sponsor and am working a 12 step program. I did graduate high school in 1993 when I was 16. Because of my past drug/alcohol abuse and due to my age I was wondering if I still have any shot at enlisting in the Navy, possibly the reserves?

  29. NCCM(ret) says:


    Once you have been released from any drug treatment for for dependence a minimum of two years, and you are otherwise fully qualified, you may be considered for a waiver.

  30. Garrett says:


    I am currently in my first year of college, but I am looking to enlist in the Navy, because I have discovered that college does not interest me (not to make it seem like joining the Navy was just some spur-of-the-moment decision; I’ve done thorough research). I have tried marijuana three times while in college, but it has been over a month since I last used it (I know the exact date when I resolved to not touch the stuff again, for what it’s worth). I will not use it ever again, and though I have spent time around people while they have been using it since I stopped, I have had no problem not partaking in its use.

    From what I have read from the comments above (Kait’s question, specifically), it seems this may not require a waiver simply for enlistment in the Navy in general. However, if I were interested in the EOD program (similar to Zach’s desire to become an SO, I suppose), how would this affect my enlistment, as recent as the usage was? Is it possible (or necessary) to receive a waiver for this to join the EOD program? And if so, is there a reasonable amount of time I should wait before having any hope to enlist for the EOD program?

    Additionally, would two minor traffic offenses present any problems in my situation?

    Thank you very much for your assistance,

  31. NCCM(ret) says:


    Once the THC has cleared your system, you would be eligible for a EOD program waiver if otherwise qualified.

  32. Christopher says:

    I am interested in becoming a Navy MA. I smoked weed in college but have no prior convictions of any kind. I have never been arrested and have no history of mental issues. Would this disqualify me from my dream of working in law enforcement? Thank you for your time.

  33. NCCM(ret) says:


    For the Master at Arms rating, you will require a waiver for your marijuana use.

  34. Christopher says:

    A form online said waivers are not permitted for MA. So I am out of luck? One more thing sir, I have 1/8″ holes in my ears where there was once guaged earrings. I know it isn’t a drug issue, but would this be an issue for enlistment?

  35. NCCM(ret) says:


    Not sure what forum is putting that out – it is a local program waiver that the Commanding Officer can grant – it may be a local policy to the district that person may be familiar with, but I have not heard of any nationwide waiver stoppage for marijuana use.

    The holes in your ears would have to be closed to the point you cannot see through them.

  36. Adam says:


    I am almost finished with my AS in Computer Programming & I really want to join the Navy but I have experimented with drugs in my past. I’m going to be honest with my recruiter & take responsibility for my actions but I don’t waste my time or theirs if there’s no chance I’ll be accepted. So my question is if I have experimented with marijuana (2), methamphetamine (2), ecstasy (1), cocaine (3), & took some pain pills will I automatically be disqualified? I have not done any of this in two-three years & did all of this in about a 6 month span when I was 21 & I’m currently 24. I’ve worked for the some organization for 8 years & lived responsibly on my own since I was 21, I know it was an irresponsible thing to do but since then I’ve displayed much more maturity & responsibility in my life. I really appreciate your time & help in this matter.


  37. NCCM(ret) says:


    Navy Recruiting Command is not currently considering the waiver required with your prior aggregate drug usage.

  38. sean says:

    1 mip charge for drinking, one theft charge for stealing a movie at a Safeway, no charges for selling or being under the influence of marijuana with the law. Am i eligible to be a SEAL?

  39. NCCM(ret) says:


    As long as you are otherwise fully qualified, you would be eligible for waiver consideration.

  40. Tera says:

    I smoked marijuana once about a year and a half ago. I was maybe 15 or 16 at the time. There were no charges, arrests, court, nothing of the sort. I heard that no waivers whatsoever are being given out though. So am i banned from enlisting due to that one incident?

  41. NCCM(ret) says:


    Whereas a one time use of marijuana may require a program waiver for the rating you enlist into, it does not require an enlistment waiver – so you should be OK if otherwise qualified.

  42. Tim s says:

    I’m interested in joining Marine ROTC however I just went through alcohol counseling (a month ago) due to an alcohol hospitalization and related MIP ticket from my campus police in May. This counseling was meant to screen for alcohol abuse and dependence but neither were diagnosed – assuming I tell my CO this, what obstacles will I face?

  43. NCCM(ret) says:

    Tim S.,

    Assuming you tell your CO? I know the Marines are teaching you better than that; I assure you, it will be worse if they find out before you tell them.

  44. Tim s says:

    Believe me, i plan to tell them but my question is more – how will this affect me medically? Will it be a serious problem in commissioning?

  45. NCCM(ret) says:

    Tim S.,

    If they found no reason to believe you are alcohol dependent, you should be OK medically. The ticket, however, because you got it so long ago and haven’t shared the information – that may be more difficult.

  46. Tim s says:

    Thanks for your help, sir. Also, generally what kinds of issues if detected might hurt my chances for receiving a commission?

  47. NCCM(ret) says:

    Tim S.,

    You say “if detected”, you are not getting it, yet.

    Most people make mistakes, but never put your integrity into question, never. Your Marine Corps, and your nation will count on you to have the courage to always do the right thing. One of those right things, is informing your chain of command when issues occur.

    Remember this, smart people are easy to find – a freakin dime a dozen; smart people with honor and courage who are willing to serve are rare, and once trained, worthy the title, Marine.

  48. sean says:

    Im 16 and when i was fifteen i got an mip for drinking. It was at my school and they required me to take this 250 question thing, all about drugs and alcohol. Now my question is will this remain on my record till im over 18 or does it drop the day i turn 18? im only asking this because i am making a decision on which service i should enter.

    One more question if its not a problem, this time about air force para rescue. To be a “pj” are there any polygraphs to take or other written tests? i heard your contract is guaranteed to you and im slightly confused on the military subjects.
    thank you

  49. NCCM(ret) says:


    The MIP will have to be documented on your application no matter when it occurred. Secondly, my expertise is not with the Air Force’s jobs, so I won’t be much help with that one.

  50. Terry says:

    My son wants to join the Navy he was charged with Paraphernalia and “Drug Abuse” Marijuana and the Paraphernalia was dropped to a disorderly conduct and the Drug Abuse was dismissed. Also he had a probation violation in which he begged for a retest because he claimed the violation was incorrect. All Probation time was served and all fines were paid. Will he be able to go into the Navy? and will it help if I who served in the Navy with an Honorable Discharge RE1 re enlistment code gave him a letter to provide to the decision board along with a letter from his Grandfather who retired as an officer both letters stating we believe he would be a good asset to the Navy?

  51. NCCM(ret) says:


    His court records would have to be reviewed by Navy Recruiting Legal so they can make a determination based on the facts of the case – the how as to its dismissal. Based on the information you provide, he could be considered for a waiver; however, whether or not he can/will receive a waiver will depend on the disposition as determined and the local recruiting command’s policy on waivers.

    If he is allowed to proceed, his education, ASVAB scores, work history, references from previous/current employers and a personal interview with the local waiver authority will be sued to ascertain the outcome.

    References from family members really do not carry much weight.

  52. Eric Arroyo says:

    Sir. I was 17 when I enlisted into the Navy, but was separated with an RE-4 (erroneous enlistment, positive urinalysis) which my lawyers and prior recruiter had all said should have been dismissed as an RE-3J under experimental use.
    We submitted a petition and substantial evidence to the BCNR and were denied the right to overturn. However, my lawyers, members of the Board, and a CPO in the local recruiting area, have all said that an RE-4 can be waived if one can provide proof of a lifestyle adjustment.
    Since then I am an Avionics tech for an aviation firm where I am submitted to mandatory drug tests by the FAA as well as being pursuant in finishing my engineering degree. Any advice would be sincerely appreciated.

  53. NCCM(ret) says:


    Anyone telling you that the Navy will consider a reenlistment code waiver for an RE-4 that was given for drug usage is just flat wrong. Petitioning BCNR to change the code was a futile effort because that RE-code is a code that could be granted for that issue – there would be no way to produce evidence that it was given in error when the instruction provides it as an option for drug usage. The Navy, since the 1980′s, has maintained a zero tolerance for drug usage, meaning there is no experimental use once enlisted – it is either usage or not.

  54. Eric Arroyo says:

    Our argument was posed that, since I was two months away from my ship date when it occurred and that I failed in boot camp, but somehow made it through MEPS on my swear in. There was a guy who did not make it through MEPS that day and he only received an RE-3. Which is why I chose to fight it in the first place. If I may ask, sir, what about an (Exception to Policy Waiver)?

  55. NCCM(ret) says:


    There are no exceptions to policy in this matter.

    Incidentally, a person discharged from the Delayed Entry Program (DEP) does not get an RE-code assigned – it is simply a cancellation of the contract for cause – no DD-214 is generated for DEP discharges. And, if a person is DEP discharged due to a positive drug test at the MEPS, they also have no opportunity for reenlistment.

  56. Eric Arroyo says:

    RE-3J, which states that “failed entry level drug test, not drug dependent.” According to MILPERSMAN 1910-134, Section 9A-1, which states that “recruits must be administratively separated and assigned an RE-3J enlistment code prove they: (1) failed entry level drug testing for marijuana only upon arrival.

    I have been unsuccessful to find any new information on this RE code which tells me things have change in the 3 years since I was separated…. By no means am I trying to argue with you sir, I’m simply trying to gather all of the facts that I can.

  57. NCCM(ret) says:


    I assume your SPD code (block 26 of the DD-214) is JDT, HDT or GDT? If so, clearly, RE-4 is the first option.

  58. Eric Arroyo says:

    Indeed Sir, (JDT)

    I do see that and I’m curious as to what defines the difference, I realize it’s all in the wording, primarily to make people (me) with poor reading comprehension, unable to make sense of the situation. what is the basis for assigning an RE-4 vs 3.

  59. NCCM(ret) says:


    Those codes and their association with the RE codes predate the zero tolerance drug policy, since the policy, everyone would have received an RE-4, regardless of the option of an RE-3J.

  60. Eric Arroyo says:


    Duly noted, and I appreciate your answering my questions, I must attest as there must be some way to legally and legitimately prove that I and others who made a childish mistake (that would legitimately make great soldiers, sailors, and so forth) that we are worthy of a second chance, I know that YOU cannot give anyone the benefit of the doubt (we pretty well blew that opportunity), but it is a fact that not all of us are unworthy….

  61. NCCM(ret) says:


    The military is restricting your access from reenlisting, but do not let that be an assessment of your self-worth. There are many people who failed to enter the armed forces, even those who left not of their own will, who went on to very productive and meaningful lives – I know you will also.

  62. Eric Arroyo says:

    I appreciate that, and (honestly) being a year away from my B.S. In E.E. I can say I was fortunate enough to find another avenue that I enjoy (Avionics Engineering). But still not as fulfilling as the other avenue in my opinion.

    “I can imagine a no more rewarding career, and any man

    who may be asked in this century what he did to make his

    life worthwhile, I think can respond with a good deal of

    pride and satisfaction:

    ‘I served in the United States Navy’

  63. Eric Arroyo says:

    Thank you very much for your time….

  64. Chuck says:

    Hello sir,

    I am very interested in the privilege of joining the Navy and the rate that has peaked my interest is the Master-At-Arms opportunity. When I was 20-years-old I got a DUI and from the ages of 18 to 22 I experimented with marijuana on occasion. I also tried mushrooms a couple times during that same period. I’m 27 and quit smoking marijuana 4 years ago and quit drinking 2 years ago. My studies and work are coming along very well. I’m going to talk to a recruiter soon, but I want to brace myself for any possible response. I want it really bad, but if I must choose a different rate I’d like to be prepared. Thank you for the very advantageous help and responses you’ve provided here.

  65. NCCM(ret) says:


    You are not eligible for the Master at Arms rating. Go see your local recruiter, and prepare yourself for a much wider selection of jobs.

  66. Chuck says:

    Thank you for putting some ease to my curiosity. I look forward to other options as well.

  67. jim says:

    If a person smoked weed one time over a year ago would a waiver be necessary?

  68. NCCM(ret) says:


    It depends on the program you would be enlisting for.

  69. nathan says:

    i had a POM charge about 3-4 years ago. no intent on selling. went through and completed probabtion and all the required things i was punished with. been clean ever since. havent talked to a recruiter yet but wanted to know how good/bad my chances were of joining and if it would help to sell myself to a potential recruiter explaining i no longer live that kind of lifestyle and truly want to serve my country

  70. NCCM(ret) says:


    If you are allowed to proceed, you would have to acknowledge that you will not continue that lifestyle – that’s a requirement.

  71. jimmy says:

    I was discharged from US Navy with other than honorable drug abuse discharge in 1982.I quit drugs about 22 years ago.Can you help me upgrade to a general discharge?

  72. NCCM(ret) says:


    There is nothing I can do beyond sending you to the Board for Correction of Naval Records (BCNR). You would need to make application and describe why the change should be granted – you would have to somehow prove the discharge classification was given in error or was too harsh.

    The link to BCNR –

  73. Daniel says:

    I’m 19 years old, I have smoked marijuanna five times in my life, over 1 1/2 years ago, have drank alcohol twice, and have never been in trouble with the law. I also was in the army DEP but decided not to ship. My ASVAB score was in the low 70′s, but in high school I received horrible grades. Based on all this what would you say my chances of being accepted into the United States Navy are?

  74. NCCM(ret) says:


    As long as you actually graduated high school, you should be qualified for enlistment provided you are granted a DEP Discharge waiver.

  75. Jason says:


    I recently graduated college and I’m interested in enlisting in the Navy as a Corpsman and want to be put into the FMF side. I’m currently in the process of getting certified as an EMT-B, which is where my interest in becoming a corpsman started. However, during my 5 year time in college, I smoked marijuana an estimate of less than 20 times (the last being more than 5 months ago) as well as experimented with mushrooms once more than 15 months ago. What are my chances of getting a waiver?

  76. NCCM(ret) says:


    You are not eligible for the HM rating; no waiver authorized.

  77. Michael says:

    I am facing charges but have not been charged with, possession of cocaine,possession of drug paraphenalia. If i get the charged dropped to the misdemeanor of drug paraphenalia will i still be eligible for SO.

  78. NCCM(ret) says:


    If you were adversely adjudicated for any drug charge, you would be ineligible for SO – including possession of drug paraphernalia.

  79. clayton says:

    hi sir,
    im a senior in hs.i plan on joining the navy and getting a job with security forces.i have smoked marijuana for a year since last year in october.i wasnt a heavy user probably about once a week.i havent smoked in 2 weeks and i dont plan on ever doing it again.i want to know if i should tell them all that or lie and say ive experimented with it once.could they find out im lying? i also dont know when to go in for long should i wait to take it so thc wont show up in my test?

    and if i need a waivor how long would that take?

    and i also have no criminal records

  80. NCCM(ret) says:


    Let me see if I understand you correctly, you want to enter the military, an organization that our service members live with honor, courage and commitment, and you want to enter a job in the military that demands an extremely high level of integrity and trust? Yet, you are willing to violate everything we hold dear by lying and misrepresenting yourself?

  81. Austin says:

    I’ve smoked weed a few times, and took one pill, and drank alcohol under the age. I’ve never been caught or gotten in any trouble, please tell me I’m still eligible?

  82. NCCM(ret) says:


    You will require an enlistment waiver, but if you are otherwise fully qualified, you shouldn’t have too much problem.

  83. dan says:

    i smoked weed like 5 times this summer and am never guna do it again.i want to be in the navy.will i need a waivor and if so how long would it take

  84. Austin says:

    I’m also a Jr. in high school, does that change anything?

  85. NCCM(ret) says:


    You have to be a senior and projected to graduate high school. Once you are, you will require a waiver for enlistment as I said.

  86. NCCM(ret) says:


    Your question has been asked and answered a couple of times before by other people.

    If you have only tried marijuana five times in your life, you will not require an enlistment waiver, but you may require a program waiver depending on which job you are offered/want.

  87. dan says:

    mp is what i want to be

  88. NCCM(ret) says:


    Then you will require a program waiver for your MJ use to be a Master at Arms in the Navy.

  89. dan says:

    thanks!one last question. does it take long for the waivor to be granted? cuz i wana be in basic training by next july

  90. NCCM(ret) says:


    Program waivers are completed the same day you go to MEPS to join. If all your paperwork is in order, your waiver interview will only take about 10 minutes – then the waiver authority would have to write up your approval/disapproval – like I said, all in the same day you go to enlist. (this is for a program waiver that is at the local command’s level like the one you are asking about – program waivers that have to be considered outside the local command’s authority could take longer).

  91. jon says:

    hello, i am a college student graduating this may who plans to enter the navy or air force as a linguist. however, though i do not have any arrests, i have prior drug usage. before i stopped almost 3 years ago, i had smoked marijuana perhaps 10-15 times, tried cocaine once, and ecstasy 4 times. will i be eligible for a waiver? thank you.

  92. NCCM(ret) says:


    You are not outright disqualified, you would require an enlistment and program drug waiver.

  93. jon says:

    what determines my eligibility for these waivers, may i ask? thank you.

  94. NCCM(ret) says:


    In a nut shell, if a person is eligible for a drug waiver, the whole person is considered, from the type and frequency of the drug(s) used to the education level completed, ASVAB test scores, job references, and the result of a personal/telephonic interview with the local waiver authority.

  95. jon says:

    thanks so much for your help. after going to a recruiter yesterday for the air force i thought my chances of going to monterrey were bleak. i was told to leave things like that out of the application, but i do not think it’s ethical and i have a feeling that the ssbi would turn it up. one last question, do you know whether, if i was to go to a different recruiter and tell him what happened when i talked to the first one and that i do not want to lie about it, how my navy application is affected if i’m declined from the air force?

  96. jon says:

    also, i don’t know if you can answer this, but if i fail to recieve a top secret clearance can any reasons (financial, drug or otherwise) be used negatively against me? i’ve heard that if something turns up i could be discharged for fraudulent enlistment. i know i said that was the last question earlier, and this probably isn’t your field. thanks.

  97. Sara says:

    I am a Junior in college and am looking into joining the Navy as an Officer once I graduate. I am planning on visiting a recruiter next week. I have never been in trouble with the law save for one speeding ticket about two months that was paid promptly. However, I smoked weed twice in one weekend about four months ago. I haven’t touched it since and don’t plan on ever touching it again. It was an unfortunate situation that I put myself in and made the wrong decision. I have also drank a little bit underage, but have never even been drunk and can count the number of instances of this on one hand. I plan on being honest with the recruiter as lying to the recruiter is not how I’m looking to start my career.

    I have a high gpa and am looking to graduate in what I would imagine to be classified as a technical degree. I have not taken the ASVAB, but from previous experience, expect to do well on it

    From what I’ve read here, it doesn’t seem that I would need an enlistment waiver to join, but I’m wondering how much of an effect this would have on a career, particularly if one joins a program that requires a waiver. Does the waiver follow you?

  98. NCCM(ret) says:


    First off, a waiver does not follow you once you are on active duty or affiliated with the Reserve. Secondly, officers are not enlisted, they are commissioned. Officers do not take the ASVAB test to qualify. Your local recruiting station, more than likely does not have an officer programs recruiter stationed there, they will have to connect you with one. You could try and make contact with an officer recruiter by using the Navy Recruiting Districts link in the sidebar and selecting your closest NRD’s website – on there should be a contact phone number for the officer recruiter. If you are unable to make contact – send me an email using the contact me page (link also in the sidebar) with your zip code, school, GPA and major – I will find the recruiter for you and have them contact you.

  99. NCCM(ret) says:


    I am not sure what you are asking… before you would be guaranteed a linguist job in the Navy, the facts of your record, including your finances, drug usage, etc., would be sent to the security folks for the rating to ensure you have a shot at a clearance – them giving a thumbs-up doesn’t guarantee your security clearance will be approved, but if they do give the thumbs-up, your chances of getting the clearance are very good.

  100. andy says:

    do navy recruiters give you navy apparel.such as shirts.sweatshirts.etc

  101. NCCM(ret) says:


    Usually, they save those items for individuals who join – but they may have things like key chains, lanyards, pens, etc. as giveaway items.

  102. andy says:

    what should i focus on for navy basic training

  103. jon says:

    NCCM, what i was asking was, if i were to talk to a different air force recruiter and tell them that i had done drugs other than pot (the first recruiter told me i should leave them off), and i was subsequently denied any chance of enlisting with the air force, would this negatively affect my potential to join other branches?

    My second question was, i have read that if the single scope background check turns out anything negative that would cause me to lose my chance at a clearance, that could that also lead to me being discharged from the military. is this true?


  104. NCCM(ret) says:


    There are more appropriate pages you could ask these type of questions from, like

    Learn your General Orders, the Navy’s Ethos ( ), and the Sailor’s Creed

  105. NCCM(ret) says:


    Each service decides the eligibility of each applicant, separately.

    I get comments or emails from those discharged due to fraudulent/erroneous enlistment just about every week asking how they can get back in. Most are disappointed by my answer. Keep in mind, there is no ambiguity in the application, and I assure you that they are very clear at the MEPS about revealing your past history – you sign documents that state you have been forthright – not to mention the posted warnings – those that “forget” to mention something before they actually get to boot-camp really don’t get much sympathy.

  106. jon says:

    Okay, that’s all I think I need to know. Thank you!

  107. robert says:

    I have a question concerning if you’ve smoked weed then are you no longer able to live overseas?i havent smoked since i was 16 and ive only done it 4 times.if that is true is there a certain time period that will have to pass before im able to live over seas or am i just completly out of luck. Thanks in advance.

  108. NCCM(ret) says:


    Applicants with pre-service moral waivers (drug, alcohol, or criminal) are disqualified from overseas assignment for their first duty station. If you do not require a waiver, this rule does not apply to you.

    BTW, based on what you describe, you do not require an enlistment waiver, but you may require a program waiver depending on the job/program you are offered – in a nut shell, based on the policy, you should be eligible for overseas duty.

  109. mason says:

    after you recieve a program waivor is it left in the past or will affect me later on in my career with the navy.and does me having add affect anything for being an mp

  110. NCCM(ret) says:


    Once you have a waiver approved, you won’t need to worry about it unless you change ratings and require another program rating for the new rating; however, the charge will still be considered separately during the security clearance process.

    If you currently have ADD, you are not eligible for enlistment. You would need to be off any medications for a minimum of a year and be able to demonstrate that you function well with out the medication.

Leave a Reply

Navy Recruiting Blog about the enlistment process and benefits of service. This is NOT an official Navy web site. The opinions expressed are my own, and may not be in-line with Big Navy.
©2004-2014 Navy CyberSpace Blog Unless otherwise noted, content written by, Thomas Goering, NCCM USN(Ret).
- Privacy Policy