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Military should stop testing for marijuana, Rep. Gaetz says

Rep. Matt Gaetz. (Released)
July 07, 2023

Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla) recently introduced an amendment in Congress that would end marijuana testing for military members.

According to Politico, Gatez’s proposal would amend the National Defense Authorization Act to prevent members of the military from being tested for cannabis at both enlistment and commission.

The Republican representative’s amendment is described as a “prohibition on cannabis testing for enlistment or commission in certain armed forces.”

Highlighting the amendment on social media, Gaetz pointed to the military’s current recruitment and retainment issue as a reason to end marijuana testing for service members.

“Our military is facing a recruitment and retainment crisis unlike any other time in American history,” Gaetz tweeted on Wednesday. “I do not believe that prior use of cannabis should exclude Americans from enlisting in the armed forces. We should embrace them for stepping up to serve our country.”

According to Fox News, the military has historically enforced strict marijuana regulations for service members.

While President Joe Biden issued pardons last year for thousands of American citizens facing federal charges for marijuana possession, military members were not eligible for pardon, as Biden’s pardon did not apply to Uniform Code of Military Justice violations.

Despite the military’s traditional enforcement of marijuana regulations, the government has loosened drug testing guidelines in recent years as more states across the country legalized recreational marijuana.

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The amendment proposed by Gaetz states, “The Secretary of the military department concerned may not require an individual to submit to a test for cannabis as a condition of enlistment of such individual as a member, or the commission of such individual as an officer, of an Armed Force.”

With the increase of recreational and medical marijuana in the United States, increasing numbers of military recruits have tested positive for cannabis, according to The New York Times. Roughly 33% more military recruits tested positive for cannabis in 2022 compared to statistics from 2020.

According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, medical marijuana is currently legal in 38 states and Washington, D.C., while recreational marijuana is legal in 23 states and Washington, D.C. However, marijuana currently remains illegal under federal law.