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Navy Enlistment Policy for Prior Drug Usage Pg-3

Navy Drug Waivers

Updated: October 13, 2017

2,506 Responses to “Navy Drug Waivers”

  1. 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.

  2. 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?

  3. 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.

  4. 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?

  5. 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.

  6. Tim s says:

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

  7. 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.

  8. 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

  9. 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.

  10. 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?

  11. 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.

  12. 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.

  13. 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.

  14. 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)?

  15. 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.

  16. 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.

  17. 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.

  18. 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.

  19. 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.

  20. 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….

  21. 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.

  22. 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’

  23. Eric Arroyo says:

    Thank you very much for your time….

  24. 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.

  25. 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.

  26. Chuck says:

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

  27. jim says:

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

  28. NCCM(ret) says:


    It depends on the program you would be enlisting for.

  29. 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

  30. 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.

  31. 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?

  32. 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 –

  33. 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?

  34. 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.

  35. 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?

  36. NCCM(ret) says:


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

  37. 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.

  38. NCCM(ret) says:


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

  39. 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

  40. 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?

  41. 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?

  42. NCCM(ret) says:


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

  43. 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

  44. Austin says:

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

  45. 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.

  46. 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.

  47. dan says:

    mp is what i want to be

  48. NCCM(ret) says:


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

  49. 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

  50. 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).

  51. 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.

  52. NCCM(ret) says:


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

  53. jon says:

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

  54. 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.

  55. 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?

  56. 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.

  57. 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?

  58. 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.

  59. 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.

  60. andy says:

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

  61. 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.

  62. andy says:

    what should i focus on for navy basic training

  63. 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?


  64. 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.

  65. NCCM(ret) says:


    Learn your General Orders, the Navy’s Ethos, and the Sailor’s Creed. Make sure you are also preparing physically.

  66. jon says:

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

  67. 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.

  68. 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.

  69. 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

  70. 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.

  71. 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

  72. 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.


  73. 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.

  74. 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.

  75. 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.

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