Military’s Ban on Service Members Using Cannabis Products

Since the Federal Government gradually legalized hemp, military branches have issued relative guidance but broadly prohibiting active duty members from using products derived from cannabis. Recently, the DOD hemp memo was noticed by the public and could help to explain this situation.

The Department of Defense (DOD) published a new policy in February that all hemp products, including CBD, are banned toward all active and reserve service members. According to the memo, hemp was legalized and recorded in the 2018 Farm Bill. However, there still a risk that hemp products may contain excess THC.

(CBD products | Harvard university)

Matthew Donovan, the Under Secretary of Defense, illustrated:

“These legal changes and the resulting introduction of hemp products containing up to 0.3 percent THC in the marketplace create a serious risk to the viability of the military drug testing program for a number of reasons.”

This memo was first noted by the Uniformed Services University in March but was widely concerned until Operation Supplement Safety program of DOD tweeted a link about this on Monday.

(Tweet of DOD’s Operation Supplement Safety program | Twitter)

The memo states that regular use of hemp products will result in a positive urinalysis test because of potential THC content. Moreover, not all CBD products that are widely available in the marketplace were tested by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Thus, there is no certification about THC concentrations.

As the memo continually pointed out:

“Consequently, Service members cannot rely on the packaging and labeling of hemp products regarding whether the amount of THC contained in the product could cause a positive urinalysis result.”

(from Adoption of Punitive General Orders to Address Use of Hemp Products)

Also, due to a mass number of hemp products, it isn’t practical for the relevant department to develop a list of each cannabis brands and check out which brand meet their standards.

“Since it is not possible to differentiate between THC derived from legal hemp products and illicit marijuana, and these products could cause or contribute to a THC positive urinalysis result, I find that the use of hemp products could effectively undermine the Department’s ability to identify illicit THC use,” Donovan claimed.

(from Adoption of Punitive General Orders to Address Use of Hemp Products)

“Accordingly, I find that protecting the integrity of the drug testing program requires the prohibition of the use of all hemp products, subject to the exclusions set out in this memorandum, even though such a prohibition will, in some instances, extend to products the normal use of which could not cause a positive urinalysis result. I specifically find a military necessity to require a prohibition of this scope to ensure the military drug testing program continues to be able to identify the use of marijuana, which is prohibited, and to spare the U.S. military the risks and adverse effects marijuana use has on the mission readiness of individual Service members and military units.”

(wrote by Matthew Donovan in the Adoption of Punitive General Orders to Address Use of Hemp Products )

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