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.

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1,343 Responses to “Navy Drug Waivers”

  1. mason says:

    i have been off the meds for 2mnths now.and i planned to go to meps in like 2 mnths so now i kinda got a problem

  2. Kate says:

    Dear Sir,

    I would love to enlist as a CTI, but I’m afraid that past drug use might disqualify me. I attended a top 25 nationally ranked university where I experimented with Cocaine, MDMA, Psilocybin Mushrooms, and LSD. Additionally, I have smoked Marijuana occasionally throughout, sometimes heavily but usually sparsely. The drugs I have tried have been at small dosages and only once each. The usage occurred over a period of two years from 2004-2006. The last time I smoked Marijuana was during the spring of 2009.

    I am a libertarian and think as a citizen I should have the complete liberty to put any substance in my body as I choose. I do, however, regret that I did have to break the law to this, but in no shape or form do I think the usage violated my moral, physical, or mental constitution. I regret my experimentation but it’s been over five years since my last usage and I am a completely different person and intend never to use again. I do not think this will effect my ability to excel at my rating, nor would it compromise my allegiance to my country. There is no record of my use with the authorities, I just want to be completely honest about my past.

    I did however have difficulties at my university, but this was in no way shaped by my drug usage. My cousin committed suicide in my first year of college which galvanized an existential crisis that took many years of reading, meditating, and debate to recover from. Unfortunately, I opted not to take a break from school and naturally did not put much effort into my classes. By the time I was ready to take school seriously again I was in deep academic and financial trouble. I was nearly ready to graduate in the summer of 2008 when the nascent financial crisis prevented me from obtaining one last student loan. I still need to pay for 16 units to graduate, but I know that I can do that rather easily once I am in the Navy.

    Additionally, I have racked up a few public transportation ticket fare evasion violations during 2008-09, though these were due to negligence on my part and not from any purposeful intentions. I still owe money for them and hope to find a way to pay for them soon.

    I have no doubt in my mind that I can score highly on the ASVAB and DLAB. I also have no doubt that all of my references will corroborate that I am of outstanding moral character. I just had a rough time during that period of my life and do not think this should condemn me forever, especially considering the great asset I know I could become for the Navy. I’ve never been in treatment nor felt any inkling of dependency. How likely do you think I can receive a drug waiver? What is their definition of experimentation?

    I’ve read several cases studies of top secret clearances from DOD and have seen several instances of people with actual histories of drug abuse, and not just use, get accepted, though I’m afraid that they might just be contractors and not military personnel. I’ve built up extensive arguments in my head why my drug history should not be a factor, but I’ll save you the trouble. Your response is greatly appreciated and thank you in advance.


  3. NCCM(ret) says:


    You would need to sit down with your recruiter and define the amount of times you used what drug, but based on your comment, you don’t appear eligible for the Navy, let alone the CTI rating, due to the current moratorium on CNRC waivers. Also, you are not eligible for consideration for processing until all your fines are paid for the toll evasion violations, and depending on how many violations you have, this may also disqualify you from the Navy. Toll evasion violations are “Non-traffic” offenses.

  4. Kate says:


    Thank you for the response. I am aware of the restrictions from my fines and I am currently trying to handle them. I have a total of fours tickets plus a backseat seat belt violation ticket from 2006. I have paid the latter off and one of the four tickets. How often do they change moratorium status? If I went in a few months, after I’ve paid my tickets, might it be different? I’m afraid I will disclose my past and then be punished just for being honest because none of this is public record.

  5. NCCM(ret) says:


    The policy about drug usage is not going to change – the four violations you have won’t be a issue once they are paid off because they, in total, don’t require a CNRC waiver.

    Being found ineligible for enlistment is not a punishment – that is like saying a company is punishing you because they don’t hire you – that’s absurd.

  6. Kristian says:

    so if I’ve done drugs before in the past i can still enlist in the Navy?

  7. Dani says:

    NCCM, I just recently enlisted in the Navy with a promise that I would be accepted as an HM. I received a possession of marijuana ticket a couple of years ago and was granted an enlistment waiver for it. But at MEPS they said because of the charge I don’t qualify for HM. My recruiter said that there is absolutely nothing he can do about getting another waiver for the program and that I would have to wait until I completed two years of active duty in the rate that I was assigned. Basically the only reason I joined the military was to be in it, in some kind of medical field. Is it true that in no way I can be granted a waiver? Or that I have to wait two years? I wish they would have not promised me the medical job from the beginning as I would have talked to the other branches about their program requirements first.

  8. NCCM(ret) says:


    The MEPS is correct, there is no waiver possible for the medical field with a drug possession charge – and two years on active duty won’t change that; you should ask, but I am afraid that you will find the other services have the same policy.

  9. NCCM(ret) says:


    Depends on many factors such as the type, amount, and how long ago. Many instances are commented on in the various comment replies.

  10. Eric says:

    I was charged with a marijuana possecion which was dismissed without prejudice. which means my case is dismissed but can be re-opend if they find further evidence it has been almost a year now since this has happend. would this keep me from joining the navy?

  11. NCCM(ret) says:


    The court records would have to be reviewed by legal to ensure no conditions were placed by the court.

  12. Eric says:

    What exactly do you mean by conditions placed by the court? I have been to meps and they denied me after a guy Googled the words dissmised without prejudice. I dont think i was treated fair my case is not currently open and nothing is pending. I was not put on prohibation, nor did i have to do community service ect. I talked with a lady that worked at the court to try to change my dissmisal to with prejudice instead of with out she told me the only way they put with prejudice is if the person dies. She also told my thier is like a one in a million chance of my case ever being re=opend she says it never happens. I just wana see who i can contact to see if i was treated fair or should i just try another branch? thanks for your replies.

  13. NCCM(ret) says:


    A condition is something the court requires you to do to have the charge dismissed or dropped. It sounds like your case could still be opened – 1 in a million is still a chance – it sounds the liaison is treating your charge as still pending; still, the Liaison for the Navy should have sent your court records to legal for a determination – searching Google isn’t the right process. What did the Navy tell you they would need to happen?

    I think you need to go to the prosecutor and have him drop the case outright and provide you a letter to that end. When you have that, your court documents with the letter will have to be sent to Navy Recruiting Command’s legal department for a determination.

  14. Eric says:

    Ok thanks for the help i will see what i can do hope the prosecuter is willing to help

  15. Eric says:

    Oh and one more thing do all drug charge dissmisals go threw legal?

  16. NCCM(ret) says:


    The only dismissals required to go to legal for determination are those that happened to so a person could join the service, but your case would need one because of the ambiguity of the dismissal. Navy Recruiting Legal should be making the determination, not Google.

    All the associated court documents, and your handwritten statement that describes the event should be looked at.

    The big question to be answered is, why did they dismiss the charge?

  17. Stephen says:

    I have a question, several years ago, I was drunk (I don’t touch the stuff now), and while in that state of inebriation I smoked a joint. That was my only time of ever touching it, but when I went to MEPS, not exactly remembering what I had done, my test came back positive. Is there no way to get a waiver for that one incident? I am really trying to find this out b/c I do wish to serve in the our military. This black cloud has followed me around ever since, and I am hoping that there is a chance for enlisting. This has been something I have regretted ever since & am praying that some how, some way, it won’t prevent me from something I have wanted to do for a very long time.

  18. NCCM(ret) says:


    If you had a positive drug test at the MEPS, you are disqualified for the Navy – no waivers are authorized.

  19. Joe says:

    Hey i got arrested for possesion with intent to distrubute because I didnt have my medication in the right container. The very next morning at first appearance court my mom brought the perscription bottle to the court and it immediatly got dismissed. Will this prevent me from joing’

  20. NCCM(ret) says:


    This would have to be reviewed by legal, but if it was dropped unconditionally, you should be OK.

  21. Tyler says:


    I have for a long time, wanted to be a SEAL. I used MDMA (ecstasy) 2 times when I was 17 and am worried that this would prevent me from joining or having a shot at BUD/S. I am now almost 29, have a college degree, and have not touched a drug of any sort for almost 12 years. Would this disqualify me from getting a high securtiy clearance? Thank you for your time.

  22. NCCM(ret) says:


    The prior use of MDMA renders you ineligible for the Special Warfare Operator (SO) rating with no waiver authorized.

  23. Rudy says:

    Im interested in joining the Navy, actually I want to join, an my question is; If i have a medical Marijuana card am I disqualified. I recently quit smoking an my card doesnt expire till april.I am not goin to renew it because i want to be done with that an it was a mistake getting it. I was sidetracked from my goal of joinin Navy an now i just want to enlist an begin my career in the Navy. Im afraid that getting my card will take my dream away from me. Im only 19, what do I do.?Pls help

  24. NCCM(ret) says:


    What is the underlying medical problem that required you to have the card? Those medical documents will have to be reviewed by the MEPS to ensure it isn’t a chronic problem that may be disqualifying and need a medical waiver.

    As far as a drug waiver goes, it depends on the amount of times you have used the drug.

  25. Tyler says:


    Thank you for your response. I was afraid of that. I understand that rules are there for a reason. Do you know why this is the case? I know the Navy has their reasons. I was just always wondering why this is the case. Thank you again for your time.

  26. NCCM(ret) says:


    Each rating in the Navy is represented by a community manager. The community managers dictate the requirements for each rating, ie., additional ASVAB line scores minimums, medical requirements, moral and drug history restrictions, etc. In the case of the SO rating (SEAL), the community has decided to make any prior usage of illegal drugs (except experimental use of MJ) a disqualifier with no waiver authorized. They make those decisions based on how individuals with various scores and issues have done in the past.

  27. Tyler says:

    I understand completely. It is my own fault. Rules are rules. I should have been smarter when I was young. Thank you again for your time and for answering my questions.

  28. Scott Hydinger says:

    Hello, I am trying to Enlist in the Navy and i have all of the paperwork done for my OSVET waiver but i have smoked Marijuana twice my entire life and was wondering if that disqualifies me from the military?? i have never failed a drug test and like I said i only did it twice just to experiment never been convicted of anything my record is clean!!

  29. NCCM(ret) says:


    If you smoked MJ after your discharge from another service, it may become an issue – if it was preservice use, you shouldn’t have a problem

  30. Aaron says:

    So if I smoked marijuana a month ago but have quit, (I only smoked it for that one month with my best friend before we planed to join just to have some fun) do I have to wait like a year to join or can I still join as long as there is no THC in your system when you go into MEPS? Thanks

  31. NCCM(ret) says:


    You would have to wait until the THC is out of your system.

  32. Reiley says:

    Hi, I am on a sleeping medication prescription, but the army disqualified me when i was on the day to go to meps, does the navy allowed prescription medication? This is my only issue in joining the military ,I am target weight now. Navy was my original choice but at the time I was over-weight

  33. NCCM(ret) says:


    Any current sleep disorder, especially one requiring medication, would be disqualifying.

  34. fred Johnson says:

    My son was arrested for possession of cocaine and a misdemeanor of drug paraphernalia. Both charges were dropped. He is trying to get an SO contract. He scored an 88 on the ASVAB and his unofficial PST scores are inline with the current SEAL requirements.
    Is he still eligible for SEAL?

  35. NCCM(ret) says:


    The question is. why did they drop the charges? If it is because he didn’t do the crime and his court documents state as much, then he won’t have a problem, but if the charges were dropped because he completed some action required by the court, then he is not eligible.

  36. fred Johnson says:

    We approached the court with the knowledge that the Navy would not allow him a SEAL contract if he completed any actions required by the court. The court essentially granted him a one time free pass. Our concern is how will the Navy view the charges even though they were Nolle Prossed as the say in legal terms.

  37. NCCM(ret) says:


    If the court documents state in any way that the charges were dropped so he could pursue the military, then the Navy will consider him guilty of the charge and not allow him to process until the normal jurisdictional probation/confinement limit has been reached – he would also be ineligible for waiver consideration for the SO rating.

    The court documents have to be reviewed and a determination made.

  38. Matthew says:

    Hello, I am currently on an ACD for posssesioin of Marijuana my ACD ends on march 8,2012 and on that date it will be dropped like in never happend. My recutitor for the Navy said that they can give me a wavier for it and I will be able to join but I was wondering if the Marines do that as well? Since they work hand in hand I wouldnt think this would be a problmk. So would I be eligable for both the Navy and the Marines?

  39. NCCM(ret) says:


    You would have to ask a Marine Corps Recruiter – I do not know if they have restrictions placed on the type of waivers they will consider.

    Incidentally, your charge may be dropped by the court, but it is still a charge that must receive waiver consideration by the military because you had to complete a requirement by the court. In the military’s eyes, you are guilty as charged. More info here –

  40. Susan says:

    I have a son who has used marijuana regularly for 4 years. He has never had any arrests for anything or even any traffic tickets. He has been to a Christian men’s facility to get away from his “friends” and straighten himself up. He is very physically fit, athletic and a hard worker. He is interested in joining the military. Would he still be elligible?

  41. NCCM(ret) says:


    Minimally, he would require a drug waiver. If he has been diagnosed as drug dependent, he would not be eligible for consideration until at least two years after any treatment has concluded.

  42. Aspiring to be EOD says:

    Will my previous use of Marijuana which i experimented with prevent me from Qualifying for EOD and a Secret Clearance

  43. NCCM(ret) says:


    Prior experimental use of MJ could receive waiver consideration for EOD and a security clearance.

  44. nick says:


    Will anything that happened to me as a minor be held against me when applying for the service, or will school suspensions resulting in an off campus detention school inside the district require me to have a waiver or writ of statement to be allowed in. 1st was possession of mj but later sealed in court then 2nd was just a school detention campus with no criminal charges filed. and a friend would like to know if a paraphernalia ticket when he was 16 will mess up his application.

  45. NCCM(ret) says:


    Any and all police involvement counts, no matter how old you were. Much more detailed information regarding police involvement can be found on this page –

  46. John says:

    Hi, I experimented with cocaine 1 time 6 years ago and have only done marijuana a hand full of times. Would I be disqualified from joining the navy?

  47. NCCM(ret) says:


    You are eligible for drug use waiver consideration.

  48. Tonya says:

    In November and December of 2010 I was going through a tough time and experimented with drugs, which ultimately led to two hospitalizations. I was a minor then and am not sure if that will have an effect on going to MEPS and being able to enlist or not..I can honestly say I am a changed person now and have no desire to ever use illegal drugs again. I would be honored to serve our country and was wondering if my past mistakes have jeopardized my future in such a catastrophic way that i will never be able to join. -thank you

  49. NCCM(ret) says:


    The drugs that you used and the amount of times that you used them must be divulged to your Recruiter to determine if you would be eligible for a drug use waiver; additionally, the medical records from your hospitalizations must be submitted to MEPS, via your Recruiter, for a review and determination.

  50. Eli says:

    1 major misconduct drug charge and 2 or more additional offenses one is a dui and and one is poss of mj can i get a wavier?

  51. NCCM(ret) says:


    The Navy is not considering waivers for Major Misconduct offenses at this time; however, even if they were, your chances of approval with two drug and one alcohol charge is very slim, at best.

  52. Eli says:

    But if wwIII breaks out im sure they would love to have me. Thank you for your time God Bless

  53. TRACY B says:


  54. NCCM(ret) says:


    Those with just a possession of MJ charge are finding it difficult to join – the fact that you have a domestic violence charge ( ), and by the way I read it, another assault charge (the circumstances surrounding it’s disposition would have to be reviewed ) – I would believe that the recruiter would reject you from further processing at this time.

  55. Josh says:

    I’m interested in joining the navy. Are unpaid medical bills considered in any way when determining qualification??? Also I was hospitalized for an allergic reaction the first and only time I’ve ever done hallucinogenic mushrooms. What repercussions might this have on my being elligable???

  56. NCCM(ret) says:


    The medical bills, unless you have dependents or the bill payment schedule is excessive, shouldn’t be an issue.

    There is a one year minimum waiting period after one used mushrooms before your enlistment processing could start.

    The medical documentation would need to be reviewed by the MEPS medical personnel, if they clear you and you pass the physical, then you would require a drug use waiver.

  57. CeeZ says:

    I’m very interested in joining the navy and though I have never smoked marijuana for extended periods of time (tried it when I was in the adolescent rebellious face alongside with drinking,which I’ve abandoned completely 4 years ago) I did smoke a joint about three weeks ago on a date. Would that show up on a test and would it disqualify me to admit to have ever used marijuana?

    Thanks in advance whatever the answer!

  58. Kyle says:

    Hi, i know you said you will not use specific numbers but ill just give you as much info as possible. I recently tried to apply for the Marine Corps PLC, and on the questionnaire it asked how many times have you tried marijuana. I did not know for sure (i didn’t count) but the OSO just wanted a specific number, so i put 22. I also have a simple possession charge from when I was 17. I am a freshman in college now and haven’t touched marijuana since that charge. They told me i was disqualified. Would the same response elicit a DQ for becoming a Navy officer?

  59. NCCM(ret) says:


    Your issue was the possession of MJ charge, not the 22 times of use. Waivers for drug abuse offenses are very difficult, if not impossible, to get right now – especially for officer programs.

  60. NCCM(ret) says:


    If you go to the MEPS and have THC in your system, you will be permanently barred from ever enlisting. You and your recruiter must ensure you do not have any in your system before you process.

  61. CeeZ says:


    Well I’m currently in europe and found out about the recruiting station in Naples,I’m not sure how long it would take if I get accepted at the pre screen stage which is why I’m wondering if I should include the incident or not. It may sound shady but I’d rather be honest about it though I’d hate to lose a chance to get in

    The thing is that though I was thinking with my cock at the moment,I’m more of a fitness inclined person and exercise regularly (don t like the taste but another reason I pass from alcohol and drugs is that they’d negatively affect my performance)

  62. Vin says:

    After reading all of the questions above, I have a question regarding disclosure of drug use. How would anyone know if someone has used drugs in the past unless they apply for the waiver? If the drug test results come back totally clean (even the hair follicle test reporting THC use within the past ~4 years), and no drug use was disclosed, what risks does one have of getting in trouble with the authorities? It seems like if the drug use was merely experimental and there is no risk of recurring use, then the applicant should just say they have never touched it. I hope this reasoning does not come off as dishonest, I just feel that all of these waivers are a lot of extra time and paper work if the usage had no affect on ones credentials. Thank you

  63. Evan says:

    Hi, I have been interested in the CTI program since my junior year in high school after I passed the practice DLAB on the Navy website with 100%. My ASVAB scores show that I am qualified for the career choice and now I am a freshman in college and plan on joining the navy to follow my fathers footsteps. I have tried several drugs such as Marijuana, MDMA, and LSD but ive tried these only once and have no intent on continuing the drugs. I was never convicted of any drug use, and I had no abuse on these drugs nor did it cause any effects. If I only tried these listed drugs once would I still be able to qualify for the CTI program? and if so, how would I go about talking to my recruiter about this and obtaining a waiver?

    Thank you,

  64. NCCM(ret) says:


    You are entitled to your opinion, but it would be dishonest to give information that is known to be incorrect. The issues that require a waiver, and the waiver process itself, serves a valuable purpose – attempting to circumvent it is wrong.

  65. NCCM(ret) says:


    You would be eligible for program waiver consideration for CTI if otherwise qualified and the use of LSD was over two years ago.

  66. Josh says:

    Hello, I joined the Army when i was 17 in 2007. I was discharged aug 2009. Under other than honorable conditions. A short while after i found out i was discharged i experimented with weed and got caught after buying my 2nd little bit. Was charged with possession for with intent for myself. Been clean for years. I was never informed of my discharge up until i tried to transfer out of my reserve unit in oct 09. I fininally received my dd214 in the mail opon request after speaking with a recruiter. I have a MBK separation code and a na reentry code? I dont know what to make of it and neither does any of the army recruiters i’ve spoken with. Every time its something different and no one seems to want to help. They told me to try the Navy or Marines.

  67. NCCM(ret) says:


    Near as I can tell, you completed your active duty portion of your training (boot-camp and AIT) and then received a DD-214 when you got to your Reserve unit – a DD-214 is used for documenting active duty service (MBK means you completed you obligated ACTIVE service) – there is a different form used to document your time in the Reserve – a Discharge Order would be given by the Army Reserve (AR), if you were in the National Guard, they give a NGB-22. It is that Discharge Order (AR) you need. But if it says you had an Other Than Honorable (OTH) discharge, you won’t get back in the service, actually, even if you had a good discharge, because you had a possession charge AFTER your service, I don’t think you will ever have a shot at reenlisting.

  68. JP says:

    I was diagnosed with less than mild social anxiety (more like bad shyness) and was put on Zoloft to help it. I have not taken it since early December in 2011 with no intent to continue, my doctor has agreed that I do not need to take it any more. Will I still need to wait a full year to attempt to get a waiver, or can I get my doctor to write a letter of recommendation for duty? He is a retired Army doctor that still work on an Army installation. I have been in college for months now and am functioning fine, etc.


  69. NCCM(ret) says:


    Zoloft is a prescribed medication that you took legally, you would not require a drug waiver for using it; however, you will need a medical evaluation – your medical documents must be submitted to the MEPS, via your Recruiter, for evaluation.

  70. JP says:

    Do you think the letter of rec. would help that process along?

  71. NCCM(ret) says:


    You need to submit your medical records, extra doctor’s letters really do not add anything because they are doing nothing but summarizing the actual reports – the MEPS doctors want to see the actual medical reports that were written when you made the visit. My experience tells me that you will be disqualified initially, and I don’t think you will receive a positive waiver recommendation until a minimum of three years pass without treatment, but I could be wrong, make sure you submit your records to a recruiter.

  72. Aaron says:

    I was wondering if it is still possible to become a Navy SEAL if I got a drug paraphernalia ticket for marijuana when I was 18-19. I’m 25 now and haven’t touched the stuff since. It was the second time I tried the stuff and was purely for experimental purposes. I wasn’t charged with a misdemeanor or anything like that, just had to pay a fine. Can anyone answer this question for me?

  73. NCCM(ret) says:


    There is no program waiver authorized for the Special Warfare programs, including the SO rating (SEAL), for those who have a prior drug abuse offense like possession of drug paraphernalia.

  74. ZT411 says:

    I am 17 and 6 months ago I tried mj for the first and last time. Will I pass MEPS or should I try to get this waivered and how hard would this be?

  75. NCCM(ret) says:


    One time MJ use does not require a waiver for enlistment, but it may require a waiver for a specific program that you enlist – your recruiter can cover that with you.

  76. ZT411 says:

    I want to join the master at arms. Will that be a problem?

  77. NCCM(ret) says:


    One time MJ use requires a program waiver for MA; approval for same should be fairly routine if you are otherwise qualified and the job is available.

  78. Jennifer says:

    I want to enlist but have a couple of questions – when I was 13 my parents divorced, I went to a new school, and tried to fit in with the cool kids. On Halloween I painted some graffiti on school grounds and was expelled, no criminal charges. I went to another school where a kid gave me a 2 Vicodin, one of which I sold to another kid for $5 in the lunch room and a teacher caught me. I was expelled from that school and charged with Transport/Sell Rx Drugs Class 6 Felony. It was amended to Possession of Rx Drugs Class 1 Misdemeanor which I admitted to. I’ve used mj a few times in my life – once with some friends in back of a grocery store where we were caught and taken to jail. They released us to our parents that night with no charges filed. I am now 20 with my EMT basic license, don’t do drugs, and chalk those times up to childhood but I understand the military may have a different view. Do you think I would be able to enlist?
    Thanks for your time, I appreciate it.

  79. NCCM(ret) says:


    You would be barred from enlistment because of the “sell” charge. No waiver authorized.

  80. John Doe says:

    Is the Navy no longer doing drug/alcohol related waivers like the Army due to the downsizing?

  81. NCCM(ret) says:

    John Doe,

    I always recommend that you talk to a recruiter and get the right guidance based on your specifics, but don’t be surprised that if you require a moral waiver for past drug or alcohol offenses to enlist, you may be advised to start seriously pursuing a different career path because it is gonna be a while.

  82. Danny says:

    I can tell that this guy was a true a**hole when he was in the service because that was the only job he could do! Wow get a life!

    For the people that have made a mistake, keep your heads up and stay positive!

    I made a mistake while in the military and got kicked out, now I make over 100k a year. So believe me stay positive!!!!

  83. NCCM(ret) says:


    I agree, I hope everyone keeps their head up and stays positive.

    Even if the military does not end up being an option for your future because of some past indiscretion, there is a whole world of other opportunities out there to explore.

    Congratulations on your success!

  84. Joe says:

    First of all, I would like to thank you for providing concise and up-to-date information to us. Your postings are one of the few places online I feel I get more fact than rumor, so thank you. I would greatly appreciate your take on my situation: I’m 27, I have 86 college credits toward a PoliSci degree, and I am interested in Naval Intelligence. I will spare you the list of positive accomplishments I have achieved and address my primary concerns.
    I have a generally good police record with a few black marks including a DWI which was dismissed and refiled as Obstructing a Highway (2005), a Theft by Check in the amount of $69 (2005), a simple possession of MJ conviction (2010), and a speeding ticket for 10mph over (2011). All charges have been dismissed and were dealt with in a timely manner; and I do not smoke MJ. 3 questions– Will these infractions categorically bar me from Naval service at this time? Are there specific stipulations for Naval Intelligence jobs (as there are in SEAL jobs) and where can I find this information? Also, will my past transgressions categorically bar me from receiving a TS clearance?

  85. NCCM(ret) says:


    For enlistment, a possession of marijuana conviction has been keeping folks from further processing of late. The reason being two fold; first, because of retention combined with the shear number of people applying for service is better than it has ever been, the Navy is focusing on processing people that don’t require a waiver; secondly, the jobs that are available in numbers are the Global War on Terror (GWOT) jobs – those jobs like SO (SEAL), SB (SWCC), AIRR, Diver, etc., those ratings/jobs do not except those with a prior adverse drug abuse adjudication (they didn’t consider waivers for those positions even prior to 9/11). An adverse adjudication for a possession of MJ charge would be charted on the moral waiver matrix as a Misconduct Offense.

    The ratings that will not consider a waiver for a drug abuse offense are; CTI, CTM, CTN, CTR, CTT, AECF, IS, OS, IT, STG, AC, AIRC, AIRR, EOD, GM, HM, HMDA, MA, ND, SB, SO and UCT.

    The Navy considers all driving incidents that included the use of alcohol the same; for example, if a person receives a reckless driving charge and the police report stipulates that alcohol was present in the drivers system, it would be treated just as a full blow DUI would be. The Navy refers to it as a “Behind the Wheel” offense (it would also be charted in the moral waiver matrix as a Misconduct Offense), and your Theft by Check should be charted as a Non-Traffic Offense.

    To sum up your charges, you have two Misconduct and one Non-traffic – that means you do meet the eligibility for waiver consideration once they do open the opportunity back up.

    As you can see by the rating list I supplied (per COMNAVCRUITCOMINST 1130.8J (CH. 1), Vol. II, Chapter 2, Section 9, Exhibit 020903, titled; “RATING/PROGRAM ELIGIBILITY DETERMINATIONS FOR APPLICANTS WITH ALCOHOL AND DRUG ABUSE”), it includes all the “Intelligence” jobs, meaning you would not be eligible for them at enlistment.

    I always recommend that you sit down and talk to a recruiter. The worst case is that he tells you, no, but he will have your information for when those waivers do once again come under consideration.

    You do not qualify for jobs at enlistment for jobs that require that level of clearance, but whether or not you would someday qualify for a TS clearance is solely up to the granting authority for the information you would have access – where I think those charges will greatly affect the decision of the granting authority, nobody could give you a definitive answer on whether you could ever hold that level of clearance.

  86. Brandon says:

    First of all I have graduated with a Bachelor’s and Master’s in Criminal Justice and am currently having trouble locating a civilian position. I am considering a Navy Officer of some sort. I have experimented with Ecstacy and Mushrooms back in 2007 and have taken pain pills not to get high, but for injuries. I did not have a prescription I just purchased these from some buddies. I have been arrested a few times, two of which are expunged and the third was an Alcohol Intoxication in 2007. Also in 2007 I had the police come to my house for a house party and I was cited with a Noise Violation and Allowing persons under 21 to consume alcohol on my property, it was alcohol they brought I didn’t purchase it for them.
    I was just wanting to know if I am ineligible for consideration as an Officer, specifically in Law Enforcement or Intelligence.

  87. NCCM(ret) says:


    Charges that were expunged still must be listed and considered – what they are does matter; that said, because of your drug use alone, you would be ineligible for law enforcement in the Navy. I don’t think you would be competitive for Intel because of the drug use and the number of charges you have.

    You can bounce your charges against the waiver matrix on this page before you talk to a recruiter –

  88. Alex says:

    First off, thank you for this post and your responses, I found pretty much exactly what I was looking for. But I need to say something to potential recruits with drug/alcohol charges: As someone who has recently gone through the aggravating and lengthy process of getting a waiver for marijuana possession, and been to MEPS three times (various reasons, non of which were disqualifying), **make sure you ask your recruiter exactly which jobs you will be barred from upon enlistment, before you go to MEPS (this is probably redundant on this page, but I have to reiterate)!!** Like someone who posted awhile ago, I scored very high on the ASVAB and was granted clearance to MEPS via a waiver. I got through MEPS and got a chance to talk with the job placement Chief. I had all intentions of going HM, CT, or something similar, yet my recruiters failed to tell me – over the course of at least 5-6 months – that my possession charge automatically barred me from picking those jobs upon signing day. So now I’m in a situation where I seriously need to reevaluate whether or not I want to continue down this path. Now that that’s out of my system, sorry for ranting, here is my question:

    The rates that you listed in response to Joe’s question are basically all of the jobs that I had any type of interest in, at this time, none of them are even considering the possibility of a waiver? Are there any ways to argue for consideration on a case by case basis? Thanks in advance.

  89. NCCM(ret) says:


    Thank you for your comment; very good advice.

    To your question, recruiting command is given the rating requirements, and what can be considered for waivers, by the rating’s Enlisted Community Manager. There is no mechanism in place to challenge the requirement guidelines set forth by the rating’s ECM.

  90. Alex says:

    Awesome, quick response — thanks. A few follow ups:

    1)Are the requirement guidelines expected to change anytime soon?
    2)In your opinion, would I have a viable chance to re-class after a year or so at another rate? Does the MJ possession prevent me from even re-classing to the above mentioned rates (besides HM), or leave me at the bottom of the list?

  91. NCCM(ret) says:


    If you join the Navy with a school guarantee, minimally, you will complete your first enlistment in that rating – do NOT join the Navy, or any service for that matter, with the belief that you will change ratings/jobs to something else – when you join, go forward with the thought that the job for which you enlisted is the job you are going to do for the duration. Is changing rates possible, yes, but keep in mind, it is the Enlisted Community Manager that dictates that process too – usually, they are pretty fixed on their requirements.

    Personally, I changed rates while in the Navy from ET to NC (after 10 years in) – people do change rates (not during their first enlistment), I just don’t want you to join thinking it is going to happen, I would rather you join thinking you will stay what you joined for, and if you do/are able to change, then bonus.

    Hope that makes sense.

  92. Alex says:

    Makes perfect sense, thanks. Glad to see someone with experience who will give you a no BS answer. Keep up the good work.

  93. Mike says:

    I tried marijuana 2 times during my sophomore year of high school. During that year I even tried to grow 2 marijuana plants however I was caught by my parents and was strictly disciplined. I am currently in my sophomore year of college and haven’t touched drugs for 4 years. I am planning on talking to a recruiter soon, I have no criminal record. Will this automatically disqualify me?

  94. NCCM(ret) says:


    You may require a waiver for the amount of times you smoked marijuana. If you sold marijuana, you are not eligible for waiver consideration.

  95. Mike says:

    Thanks for the response, I never sold marijuana. The growing was unsuccessful and nothing ever came of it. The plants were extremely small and the time period lasted only a few weeks. I have never sold marijuana or bought marijuana, just attempted to produce it. This is kind of a strange situation that I can’t find any where else on the internet. What do you think?

  96. NCCM(ret) says:


    To tell you the truth, I don’t know – I have never had anyone tell me they attempted to grow it before. I would think it would be disqualifying unless you can somehow convince them that your intent with the attempted grow was strictly for your personal use.

  97. Mike says:

    I would also have to put it down on my SF-86, would that be a problem? Or would the main problem be convincing the recruiter?

  98. NCCM(ret) says:


    Yes, your drug activity must be listed. You would first need to convince your recruiter, and then those who complete your processing.

  99. David says:


    I just recently turned 18 years old and are still in high school (senior year). When i was 16 i tried marijuana and used it for about 1 year. I quit cold and will never get anywhere near that substance or any others like it again, and I have devoted myself to train to become a navy seal or SWCC operator. Would my prior mistake keep me from this goal and is there any waiver, or time period to wait, or way to prove myself so as to still be able to join.

    Thank you

  100. NCCM(ret) says:


    If you are otherwise exceptionally qualified, you should be considered for a waiver.

    Stay on your path.

  101. Alex says:

    At the end of the year I will graduate with a B.S. Construction Management with many additional certifications. I’d like to join the Navy to help pay back student loans and simply to serve. In 2009 I was arrested for possession of marijuana but the case was dismissed by the prosecutor after successfully completing a diversion program. I have never had any sort of drug problem; I was just a passenger in a vehicle while a joint was in the car. I also suffered a spell of heat stroke in August causing me to pass out and hit my head on the ground and start seizing. I have never had a seizure before or after and have performed all necessary tests with a Neurologist to confirm I have no disqualifying neurological diseases (or anything wrong for that matter).

    With these two events coupled with a decent resume and a healthy body, what are the possibilities of either becoming an officer or enlisting in a field related to my degree (construction, engineering aid, contracting, etc.)? Is getting a waiver likely?

  102. NCCM(ret) says:


    Waivers for drug charges that were adversely adjudicated are very difficult to get, but possible for exceptional candidates (enlisting – not sure about a commission). Currently, the greater concern is the fact you had a seizure – that is usually a minimum five year wait before you can process (from the conclusion of any treatment). But to be sure, I suggest that you ask NavyDoc, he is a MEPS doctor that graciously answers questions posed on this page —>>

  103. Alex says:

    Thanks for the quick response and your assistance NCCM. One more follow up question if you don’t mind: what are some things I could do to make receiving a waiver more probable? Thanks again.

  104. NCCM(ret) says:


    Your education level combined with a good ASVAB score is a start. Job references, prior community involvement, leadership positions you may have held in clubs, organizations or on sports teams – all those types of things are a plus.

  105. Chris says:

    Almost two years ago I got a misdemeanor ticket for possession of marijuana, I was required to do community service and had six months of suspended license. Would this be an excluding factor for me? It has been cleared from my record permanently but I am aware government jobs have access to cleared charges. Thank you for your help and time.

  106. NCCM(ret) says:


    Your charge would require a waiver unless the charge was associated with the sales or distribution of the marijuana. Waivers for possession are difficult to get, but not completely impossible – I suggest you make contact with your local recruiter – if they are not currently processing those type of waivers now, they may be in the future, and if he has your name and contact information, you’ll be one of the first people he contacts when the time is good.

  107. lrp says:

    I am curently in the navy awaiting to leave for bootcamp. A little over a month ago I went thru meps and had to clear a drug waiver stating I had used mj 6 times due to the possesion a paraphernalia tickets I received roughly a year and half ago. In this time I looked into SO and decided to pst for eod. I met all the physical requiements and in fact the retired seal who tested me offered to write a letter of recomendation becair he said most canifates don’t even finish the 500 yd swim the 1st time they test. Obviously the next day after my recruiters spoke with a ommanding officer it was discovered there is no sort of waiver I can pass for eod. My question to you is after I serve active duty for a period of time will I ever be able to qualify for eod or does a possesion oaraphenalia charge which I may add was dropped stick with me my whole career? Any response is appreciated

  108. NCCM(ret) says:


    The current policy of the community manager’s that handle what issues one can have when attempting to gain entrance into SO, EOD and the other challenge programs, have drug abuse charges as a no go; whereas I do not see that changing in the future, it could, but I wouldn’t join the Navy, if I were you, thinking it was going to happen.

  109. Lrp says:

    I was more so asking in terms of if there are special cases once a sailor has actually served activist and proven the prior drug use to be irrelevant rather than an actual policy change but thankyou. On another note is there a waiver process for a sailor to go individual augmentee that you know of?again any answer is appreciated

  110. Brad says:

    I have used mj in the past, I’m 20 years old and havnt touched the stuff since I was a junior in high school between 16 an 17, I’m currently looking into joining the navy under a SO rating or SB rating, just wondering if it will affect my chances on either one I decide to pursue a career in.

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