No Medical Marijuana for Soldiers

While the fight for legalization of marijuana continues to roar across the country, those who actually do go to war, the real one, are a subject to the federal governments’ strict no-tolerance-pot-policy for members of the US military. Perhaps, if stoned, the soldiers wouldn’t want to go to war or to participate in the battlefield? Can you imagine a soldier under the influence of marijuana having a desire to kill or indulge in any kind of a violent behavior? Neither can we. However, following the thread of nation’s recent success with the legalization efforts, such as passing of initiatives to legalize weed in Alaska, Oregon, and Washington DC, the commanding forces behind the same nation’s defense have felt as if it was a call for them to reiterate the rules to its soldiers – their consumption of cannabis could result in court martial. As marijuana remains completely outlawed by the federal government, if you are cadet or any other high-ranking officer alike and they catch you with weed, you are facing criminal charges as well as career-ending discipline.

Military is not a place for stoned soldiers

In order to successfully stay stoned-soldier free, the federal government conducts regular drug testing. That’s right – according to Washington Times, while marijuana laws are rapidly changing across the country, the very same country’s military statistics show that mandatory annual drug testing is not necessarily keeping pace with those changes. That would all be normal, if the same news outlet didn’t get their hands on the army testing data, through a Freedom of Information Act request, which shows that of about 41,000 soldiers stationed at Joint Base Lewis-McChord in Washington, only about 75 percent were tested for marijuana in 2014. What? Why can’t you just test them all if you’re testing them? The numbers were better at Fort Carson in Colorado, where the results showed officials had fully tested the 26,000 active-duty personnel stationed at the base.

The same rules apply to all

The Army officials say the expectations are clear for all active-duty personnel – since the Reagan administration, nothing has changed regarding marijuana policy. The figures coming from the drug tests show a decline from 2013 in the number of active-duty soldiers who tested positive for cannabis. At Lewis-McChord in Washington, where marijuana became legal in December 2012, the number of soldiers testing positive for marijuana dropped from 315 in fiscal 2012 to 250 in fiscal 2013.

While the Army officials remain satisfied with these random drug tests, their promising numbers and overall declining number of stoned army personnel, there’s this other issue that keeps growing – part-time soldiers and military family members, who often live off base in shared housing or simply live with other family members. In all these situations, for instance, a roommate or spouse could legally grow marijuana or smoke it thus placing a soldier in a potentially compromising position. The Colorado Army National Guard recorded an increase in positive test results, with the number of soldiers testing positive jumping from 20 to 32 from 2013 to 2014. However, Army officials from Colorado hesitated to draw any conclusions about this and say whether or not this is due to the effects of legalization.


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