Commandant of the U.S. Coast Guard Adm. Karl Schultz has issued an order banning all coast guard military personnel from “knowingly going to, getting into, remaining in, or patronizing” marijuana dispensaries or any other marijuana-connected corporations. Although now legalized for healthcare use in the majority of U.S. states (and for recreational use in almost a dozen), the production, sale and possession of marijuana and the psychoactive compound THC are nonetheless banned by federal law and the Uniform Code of Military Justice.
“As element of the federal law enforcement neighborhood, I expect Coast Guard personnel to preserve a way of life that neither condones the use of illegal substances nor exposes them to accidental intake of illegal drugs,” Schultz wrote. “Illegal drug use and involvement with activities, events, or entities that market illegal drugs are contrary to our Service’s core values.”
Schultz’s order is extensive in scope: it bans Coast Guard military personnel from even going to any variety of company that mostly offers in marijuana or THC. It applies to storefront dispensaries, on-line or delivery solutions and mobile dispensaries, although not to healthcare facilities distributing FDA-authorized prescription THC or cannabidiol. The rule goes into impact promptly, and violations are punishable by up to two years of confinement, forfeiture of all spend and dishonorable discharge.
Additional, Schultz warned that participating in any occasion that “promotes, celebrates, encourages, or seeks to additional the use of marijuana” is contrary to the service’s core values and could have “adverse profession consequences.” For civilian USCG personnel, Schultz noted that federal personnel are prohibited from working with illegal drugs, and “involvement with marijuana increasing or distributing could negatively effect a suitability determination for continued federal employment” and safety clearances.
Cmdr. Matt Rooney, the head of the Policy and Requirements Division for the Coast Guard, told Military.com that the new rule was prompted by “a shift in the social norms” surrounding marijuana use and the drug’s growing availability. “We want to be clear to the workforce in delivering our expectation that consumption of marijuana is nonetheless prohibited,” Rooney stated.