Should you smoke marijuana?
Marijuana is now legal in nine states for recreational use and in 30 states medical marijuana is permitted and now Canada has jumped on the bandwagon with legal cannabis. Before you light up a joint here are a few things you need to know. For service members, the answer is a resounding no. You can not use marijuana while you serve. We break it down here:
- Marijuana is illegal under federal law, so even if you live in a state where pot is legal you can’t bring it onto a military installation. This includes your residence if you live on a military installation. If you are visiting a state with legal marijuana you can’t bring it home with you. Airports are under federal jurisdiction and while the TSA doesn’t actively search for drugs, if they see it or view it in your belongings you can be turned over to the proper authorities.
- Military service members are subject to drug tests on a regular basis. Regulations prohibit Department of Defense personnel from unlawfully possessing, dispensing, selling, or using illicit drugs. Common courtesy would dictate if you can imbibe, but your spouse can’t you should not. It’s like eating a cupcake in front of someone who is dieting. According to an article on the National Institute on Drug Abuse website, a study found that nonsmoking participants exposed for an hour to high-THC marijuana (11.3 percent THC concentration) in an unventilated room showed positive urine assays in the hours directly following exposure. The Bottom line is if you are a service member; don’t take the risk of being around second hand smoke from marijuana. It is not worth the risk of failing a drug test.
- Cannabis Vacation to Canada has its appeal, but remember you can’t take marijuana across the border and it will show on drug tests.
- Public versus Private use. Most states allow use only in private. This means you can’t smoke or imbibe outside or in public places like bars or restaurants. In most cases a hotel room is considered private space, but you should verify with the hotel and also know that you are subjected to smoking laws and guidelines as well.
- If you’re a family member that decides to partake in smoking marijuana you’ll probably wonder: What am I taking? Do your research and read labels. Cannabis is much like alcohol where there are a variety of types and potencies. You wouldn’t want to chug shots of grain alcohol your first time drinking. Certain types of cannabis will get you high while others will mellow you out. Before you light up get smart on the labels.
- With marijuana now regulated you are unlikely to purchase an unsafe product from a licensed shop, but you need to be aware of basic safety issues. Do not imbibe and drive. Just like alcohol, moderation. Make sure you are of legal age. Do not share with minors. Abide by the regulations in your state.
- Not a service member, but thinking about becoming a recruit? You may want to think twice before using marijuana. It could very well impact your eligibility to serve in the future.
****Disclaimer: This article is the opinion of the author and is not an endorsement of marijuana use. The goal of the article is informational.****
Marguerite Cleveland is a freelance writer who specializes in human interest and travel stories. She is a military brat, a veteran and now a military spouse. Her military experience is vast as the daughter of a Navy man who served as an enlisted sailor and then Naval Officer. She served as an enlisted soldier in the reserves and on active duty, then as an Army Officer. She currently serves as a military spouse. She lives in the Pacific Northwest with her husband and two sons. Visit her website www.WanderWordsWine.com