Can Active Duty Military Members Legally Use Medical Marijuana?

Given the fact that marijuana is federally classified as a Schedule I drug in the United States, all United States Military branches have a strict policy against it. The Department of Defense states that “drug abuse and dependence are incompatible with readiness, the maintenance of high standards of performance and military discipline.”

More specifically, Article 112a of the Uniform Code of Military Justice states that “any person subject to the UCMJ who wrongfully uses, possesses, manufactures, distributes, imports into or exports out of the United States, or introduces into an installation, vessel, vehicle or aircraft used by the military a controlled substance shall be punished as a court-martial may direct.” Article 112a lists multiple substances that fall under this category and marijuana is specifically listed. Service members specifically targeted by this Article are Army Reserve, Navy Reserve, Marine Corps Reserve and Air Force Reserve. No matter whether you are a reserve or active duty member of any U.S. military branch, if you are found in possession of marijuana or test positive for its use you will be punished.

The most common diagnoses among active duty service members are PTSD, anxiety, insomnia and depression, all of which cannabis can help with greatly; however, until either retired or no longer active duty, servicemen and women unfortunately cannot seek marijuana as an option for treatment.

SOURCES:
State-level Decriminalization of Marijuana and Its Impact on Service Members
Psychiatric Diagnoses and Treatment of U.S. Military Personnel While Deployed to Iraq
Study: Rates of many mental disorders much higher in soldiers than in civilians

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