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Rep. Gaetz pushes to end marijuana testing for military

"We should embrace them for stepping up to serve our country," said Gaetz.

Published: July 6, 2023 5:16pm

Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.) is looking to end cannabis testing for military personnel upon enlistment and upon receiving a commission as an officer.

"I do not believe that prior use of cannabis should exclude Americans from enlisting in the armed forces," Gaetz said. "Our military is facing a recruitment and retainment crisis unlike any other time in American history."

The number of military recruits who tested positive for cannabis rose by nearly 33% from 2020 to 2022, according to The New York Times.

The military has responded by easing drug testing regulations as more states legalize cannabis for recreational use, according to The Hill. Over 3,400 recruits who failed a drug test on their first day were given second chances to test again over the past five years, according to the Times.

Gaetz’s proposal would amend the National Defense Authorization Act.

Other legislation that eases restrictions on cannabis use as it relates to the military has been proposed by members of Congress.

Reps. Brian Mast (R-Fla.), Barbara Lee (D-Calif.), Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore.) and David Joyce (R-Ohio) of the Congressional Cannabis Caucus proposed legislation that allows the Department of Veterans Affairs to give medical opinions and recommendations on cannabis as a treatment for patients in states where cannabis is legal.

Rep. Tony Gonzales (R-Texas) also proposed an amendment that would allow members of the military to consume CBD products that are legal under federal law.

Marijuana remains illegal under federal law despite being legal for medical use in 38 states and Washington, D.C., and recreational use in 22 states and Washington, D.C.

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