Early last week, the House of Representatives approved amendments to the National Defense Authorization Act; these changes include a measure allowing armed forces to consume hemp products and select cannabis derivatives. Hawaii representative and National Guard officer, Tulsi Gabbard, sponsored the measure that approved by 336 to 71 votes.
The changes resulted from the Department of Defense banning the use of hemp products by members of the military. The DOD made the previous decision despite any other correlating acts or laws passed. States that allow the legal sale and consumption of cannabis are growing. This is in addition to the Agricultural Improvement Act allowing further options for hemp-derived CBD (highly concentrated Cannabidiol with no more than 0.3% of Tetrahydrocannabinol). Regardless, the federal standing of cannabis restricts active and reserve members of the armed forces from using either.
Military Restrictions on Cannabis
Newsweek reported on the story, explaining how Gabbard’s amendment would change things. It would ‘countermand the Department of Defense policy that, due to an inability to distinguish between legal and illegal THC and the potential for positive urinalysis drug test, opted for a full ban.’ Another amendment introduced by Arizona representative, Ruben Gallego, would add to opportunities. This amendment would allow military members who’ve admitted to consuming cannabis, or those previously convicted of single misdemeanor cannabis offenses, to reenlist on a case-by-case basis. It the grand scheme of cannabis accessibility, these are baby steps. Either way, progress is progress.
Though the amendments have made it through the House, it still has to pass through the Senate. Mitch McConnell may have introduced the Hemp Farming Act of 2018; but, we know the current Senate to stand against most cannabis reform.
Most argue that Gallego’s ‘dialogue once’ comment should extend to those who consume cannabis for medical reason regularly; but, only time will tell. The change comes as national news outlets picked up the story involving a military veteran and his use of medical cannabis. A disabled vet is facing 60-months in an Alabama penitentiary for minor cannabis charges. The arrest took place in 2016 as Army veteran Sean Worsley was carrying his medical prescribed and purchased cannabis from Arizona through Alabama.
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