Congress Votes to Allow U.S. Military Members to Use Hemp and CBD Products

Congressman Fights For Military to Forgive Members’ Past Cannabis Use

Until recently, you wouldn’t have wanted to get caught smoking weed if you’re in the U.S. military. But now, that’s all set to change. Just recently, Congress passed an amendment that allows service members to use hemp and CBD products.

The amendment was added to the National defence Authorization Act (NDAA) and was approved by the House of Representatives in a 336 to 71 vote on July 20.

Prior to the amendment, military service members who even confessed using marijuana a single time were kicked out and barred from re-enlisting. Prospective soldiers couldn’t admit to using marijuana either.

With such a threatening outcome of stake, is it safe to say that soldiers have completely refrained from using weed? Not necessarily, according to the Army Crime Report for the 2018 fiscal year.

The report found that, at army bases in or near states that had legalized marijuana, there had been an 18% increase in positive drug tests for THC. In other words, soldiers were taking advantage of the wave of cannabis legalization sweeping the States, despite the risk to their career.

Luckily for these grass-loving soldiers, one Arizona congressman is advocating for their right to blaze it. While the recent move by congress is a start, Rep. Ruben Gallego wants to see further change enacted.

Rep. Gallego submitted a proposal to the House Armed Services Committee to grant single-use reenlistment waivers to former soldiers who confess to using cannabis. Specifically, the proposal would allow service members convicted with a misdemeanor offence, or those who admitted use while off-duty, to be allowed to apply for a waiver, which would be handed out on a case-by-case basis.

Gallego is a Marine Corps combat veteran who had served in Iraq. His time with the Marines and desire to support them inspired his future political career.

“Smoking pot just once shouldn’t prevent a patriotic American from fighting for our country,” Gallego said.

“We need to finally exercise some common sense when it comes to our marijuana policies, and I’m glad my amendment will lead us in that direction.”

This is the third time Gallago has pitched the proposal. It came close to being passed in 2019, but it was dropped during reconciliation with the Senate defence bill.

Gallego brought up the double standard between cannabis and alcohol to justify the proposal:

“There’s ample evidence that the social and personal consequences are far worse for alcohol use than for marijuana use, but we wouldn’t be able to assemble even one Marine Corps regiment if we excluded everyone who’s ever had a sip of beer or whiskey.”

Gallego says he was inspired to create the proposal after hearing an anecdote from a constituent who had left the Marine Corps and gone to law school. While trying to reenlist with the Marines, the constituent admitted to using cannabis. Their recruiter told them they would have to lie about their cannabis use in order to pursue a spot with the Marines.

Gallego’s proposal has come close to passing before. If it does this time, many marines will know who to thank.