Lt. Gen. Chuck Lamarre, chief of military personnel in the Canadian Armed Forces, said in a recent interview with the CBC that the Canadian military is not in a position to impose an outright ban on adult-use cannabis. However, Lamarre indicated that restrictions will be more wide-ranging on cannabis consumption than on alcohol.
The Canadian military has a draft policy to deploy and is waiting on the House of Commons to pass the amended version of C-45, the pending Canadian cannabis legalization bill.
“There’s no total ban at this point. We can’t do that. If the law says it’s no longer criminal to have it in your possession, it’s not a criminal act. You just can’t ban it outright.” — Lt. Gen. Chuck Lamarre, to the CBC
The military policy will cover everyone in uniform and also offer guidance to the 30,000 civilian employees of the Canadian National Defence Department.
Restrictions on alcohol and even bans during some overseas operations have long been in place in Canada‘s military. Lamarre and his team are proposing what is essentially an expansion of the rules governing alcohol consumption to include cannabis, in a way that makes sense for the differences between the two substances.
Some military personnel have argued for an outright ban for certain occupations. Lamarre would not discuss it deeply but said the air force has specific concerns about pilots and a dialogue about toughening the policy for the air force was ongoing. The commanders of other branches — army, navy, and special forces — have also been tasked with determining which occupations might need special rules.
“Canadians are expecting our operational readiness and our ability to do our business must never be compromised.” — Lt. Gen. Chuck Lamarre, via the CBC
Lamarre says he doesn’t believe there will be a post-legalization spike in cannabis use among members of the Armed Forces. Most people who join the military do so to perform challenging feats such as flying planes and helicopters, Lamarre said, and he doesn’t expect they would allow legal cannabis to keep them away from that work.