By MyBaseGuide Staff Member
You just spilled the beans. The weed beans. If you’re here because you’ve typed “I told my recruiter I smoked weed” into Google, well, we’re only laughing a little bit. On the serious side of things, however, we’re gonna break down what’s probably gonna happen next and some of the rules about weed in the military.

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First and foremost, the military has a very strict policy on drug usage of any kind while in service. This is why most people with Tourette Syndrome can’t join the military – because their RXs contain drugs that the military does not allow. But weed is different, right? Several states have legalized marijuana, so that opens up the question of if the military has changed their own policy on it. What you need to understand about the military, however, is that they’re beholden largely to their own rules and not necessarily all the rules of the states. These rules all fall under the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ). Under Article 112(A), the military has a zero-tolerance policy for the possession, sale, and use of any drugs. But, of course, you’re not in the military yet, so what are your repercussions?

Weed in the Recruiting Stage

To join the military at all, you’ll be asked to take a drug test. If you fail, you’re not allowed in… usually. Of course, if you actually told your recruiter you smoked weed, there will be a few follow-up questions and paths that could help get you out of hot water. To start, the military has very recently introduced a new THC waiver that’s already decreased military discharge for drug use. If you fall into the category of “I told my recruiter I smoked weed,” then your IMMEDIATE follow-up should be an inquiry about receiving one of these waivers. Keep in mind that a military drug waiver is not a guarantee. So don’t smoke right before joining up just because you think you can get away with it. Military members can see right through that stuff, especially well-seasoned recruiters.

Differences in Branches

Different branches are less strict than others regarding smoking weed in the military recruiting stages. For example, the Air Force weed policy, which was updated in 2021, states that smoking weed before joining the military is not disqualifying in and of itself. Even if you do test positive for THC during the recruiting stage for the Air Force, the Air Force and Space Force are now more willing to forgive this and grant a waiver. Major General Ed Thomas, commander of the Air Force Recruiting Service at JB San Antonio-Randolph, said in a statement to Air Force Times, “As more states legalize cannabis, there is an increased prevalence of THC-positive applicants… We have to be realistic today. We need to exercise common sense.” Among the existing massive recruiting shortage, this increased leniency makes a lot of sense. Other services also allow waivers, but none have been as outspoken about the possibility of leniency as the Air Force. At present, the Army imposes a 90-day waiting period for any recruits who test positive for THC upon entering a Military Entrance Processing Station (MEPS). If you can stay clean in those 90 days, then you’re good to join. If not, you’re disqualified.

Will Weed Be Legal in the Military?

Despite the fact that rules are loosening up for military recruits, we doubt weed will ever be legal in the military. Due to the nature of the job, troops always have to be in the best mindset possible. Being sharp and on top of things at all times is how lives are saved and missions are won. Even if a troop uses weed for medical reasons, it can still slow down cognitive function and the ability to make quick decisions and react to situations appropriately. This can be incredibly costly, especially in war. So, unfortunately for those of you who partake, the answer to “Can you smoke weed in the military?” is likely to be a no forever.

Good Luck, But Don’t Push It

If “I told my recruiter I smoked weed” is where you’re at right now, no need to panic. Being honest is a great quality and very valuable in military service, unlike drug usage. When you’re in contact with your recruiter next, make sure you exemplify remorse and a true understanding of your actions and acceptance of the potential consequences. If you’re not disqualified immediately, you may still be able to join with the help of a waiver or probationary period, but don’t push it and smoke again, or your chances will go from a “maybe” to an absolute “no.”

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