Congress Offers Forgiveness Of Past Cannabis Use In The Military
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That which does not get you high will not get you kicked out of the military.
That’s the gist of a bill recently passed by the U.S House that would allow those in the United States Armed Forces to use hemp products, including CBD, while serving their country. The bill only allows the use of hemp-derived CBD products that meet federal guidelines, under .3 percent of THC. Importantly, those guidelines have been partially put in place by the 2018 Farm Bill.
That distinction is why CBD products have taken off in the United States since Congress made hemp legal in late 2018. Hemp farmers continue to prosper, even during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The new measure, which amended the national defense bill, was sponsored by Rep. Tulsi Gabbard of Hawaii, a major in the Army National Guard who served two tours of duty in the Middle East.
The amendment reads, in part: “The Secretary of Defense may not prohibit, on the basis of a product containing hemp or any ingredient derived from hemp, the possession, use, or consumption of such product by a member of the Armed Forces.”
Another bill allows those who have used cannabis to re-enlist.
Another bill that has passed the House, this one from Rep. Ruben Gallego of Arizona, calls for allowing ex-military members who want to re-enlist to do so, even if they admit to the use of cannabis since leaving the military.
The amendment to the defense bill would allow anyone to rejoin the military even if that person “truthfully attests” that they used marijuana while “separated from the military.” The amendment would allow the Pentagon to grant waivers in this area on a case-by-case basis.
As things stand, if someone admits to having used marijuana, they cannot re-enlist. Under the proposed new regulation, they could apply for a waiver after admitting this or if they had a misdemeanor marijuana offense on their record.
“Smoking pot just once shouldn’t prevent a patriotic American from fighting for our country. We need to exercise common sense when it comes to our marijuana policies,” Gallego said in a Tweet.
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Now, it’s up to the Senate to decide.
Both amendments made it onto the defense bill approved by the House. Now, they will have to pass through the Senate to reach President Donald Trump’s desk for signing.
The Senate may also take on other aspects of cannabis. For example, a bi-partisan group of senators that includes Dianne Feinstein, Chuck Grassley, and Brian Schatz are considering legislation that would expand cannabis research in the United States.
All this legislative action is taking place as hemp has become an issue in the military. Gabbard’s proposal would reverse a policy announced just this year by the Department of Defense. In it, the DoD prohibits all members of the Armed Forces from using hemp products, even though they are now legal under federal law.
Other branches of the Armed Forces have also issued warnings this year that prohibit service members from using hemp products. They include the Air Force, Navy and Coast Guard. In some cases, they have expressed concern that hemp could contain traces of THC and cause people to fail a drug test.