Smoking marijuana prior to enlistment is no longer a deal breaker for the U.S. Air Force. Last week, the Air Force - which employs hundreds of thousands of Americans - announced that they will no longer disqualify recruits who have used cannabis in the past. That doesn't mean they can have a puff while in the service though. The AF still bans cannabis and other federally prohibited drugs. But new recruits won't be turned away for having smoked cannabis before entering the service.
Here are the new rules regarding cannabis, according to a release on the Air Force website.
The revised policy will remove the service prescribed numerical limitations on prior use of marijuana when determining accession qualifications. In accordance with DOD [Department of Defense] standards, a medical diagnosis of substance-related disorders or addiction remains medically disqualifying for service. Additionally, any legal proceedings associated with pre-service use will continue to be reviewed and adjudicated separately and may be disqualifying depending on the nature of the offense(s). The Air Force will maintain a strict "no use” policy. An applicant or enlistee will be disqualified for service if they use drugs after the initial entrance interview.
So recruits with a history of substance abuse are subject to disqualification. And anyone with pre-service legal trouble involving marijuana or other drugs could be disqualified depending on the case.
The Air Force stressed that the new policy has nothing to do with the success of the legalization movement in America, where 29 states have legalized medical marijuana and 8 have legalized recreational use.
"[C]urrent Air Force accession policy with respect to pre-service marijuana use is not reflective of the continuing legalization of marijuana in numerous states throughout the nation," according to the website.
Instead, the policy change was about fairness and consistency. Previously, the various recruitment wings of the AF - such as the Air Force Academy and the Air Force Reserve Officer Training Corps - didn't use the same standards to screen for cannabis.
"We didn't ask the same questions," Lieutenant General Gina Grosso told Military.com. "Some recruiters used if you smoked marijuana less than five times, sometimes it was less than 15 times."
And those questions were already difficult to ask because people don't usually keep a running tab of their smoking sessions. "What we decided to do is stop asking [about] prior marijuana use at the recruiter level," Grosso explained. "[W]ho really counts how many times they've used marijuana?"
Unfortunately, the new policy didn't specify whether or not karaoke would still be part of basic training in the Air Force.
h/t MJ News.