Defense Bill Aims to Loosen Cannabis Policies for Military Re-Enlistment

An amendment to the must-pass National Defense Authorization Act would give a path for service members to re-enlist in the military even if they have consumed cannabis during their time away.

Full story after the jump.

Lawmakers on the House of Representatives Armed Services Committee have included a provision in the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) that would allow service members to re-enlist if they are truthful about any cannabis use while they were separated from the military.

The amendment, which would allow the Pentagon to grant waivers for cannabis use on a case-by-case basis, was introduced by Arizona Rep. Ruben Gallego (D). Gallego is a former Maine. In a press release, Gallego indicated the amendment would modernize re-enlistment policies which he called “long overdue.”

Gallego introduced the amendment last session, which passed the House but was not adopted by the Senate.

“Smoking pot just once shouldn’t prevent a patriotic American from fighting for our country. We need to finally exercise some common sense when it comes to our marijuana policies, and I’m glad my amendme6nt will lead us in that direction.” – Gallego in a statement

According to the amendment text, the amendment would cover soldiers “admitted to or been convicted by a court of competent jurisdiction of a single violation … relating to the use or possession of cannabis” as long as it’s a misdemeanor charge and did not occur while the individual was serving active duty.

House lawmakers still have to debate the measure, but the NDAA is must-pass legislation. The measure must also be approved by the Republican-led Senate.

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