USA Proposal to End Military Cannabis Testing as Recruitment falls
Calls are being made to end cannabis testing in the military as recruitment numbers continue to decline. Representative Matt Gaetz of Florida has proposed an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act that would lift the military's ban on marijuana, with the aim of attracting more recruits.
"Our military is currently facing an unprecedented crisis in recruitment and retention," stated Gaetz. "I don't believe that previous cannabis use should disqualify Americans from enlisting in the armed forces. We should embrace those who are willing to serve our country."
Currently, despite its legal status in certain states, cannabis use is prohibited for military personnel and recruits. However, there has been a significant increase in positive cannabis tests among recruits in 2022 compared to 2020, according to The New York Times.
Advocates argue that it is time for the military to update its policies and align with the changing attitudes towards cannabis. They point out that medical marijuana is legal in 38 states and Washington D.C., while recreational marijuana is legal in 22 states and D.C.
Allison Jaslow, CEO of Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America, emphasizes that recruits should not be penalized for using cannabis before enlisting, especially when it is legal in many states. She highlights the discrepancy in treatment between service members and civilians in states where cannabis is legal.
However, critics raise concerns about the impact of cannabis use on military performance. While advocates clarify that they do not condone cannabis use while on duty, they argue that reasonable regulations, similar to those for alcohol, can be put in place to ensure responsible use.
Given the recruitment crisis currently faced by the military, advocates argue that it is essential to reconsider the exclusion of potential recruits and the discharge of service members due to cannabis use. They emphasize the need for every capable volunteer in the military during these challenging times.