May 10, 2018

Rep. Gallego Fights for Smarter Marine Corps Policy on Marijuana-Use

WASHINGTON, DC – Last night, Rep. Ruben Gallego (D-AZ) offered an amendment to the FY2019 National Defense Authorization Act that would encourage the military services to implement policies allowing individuals to reenlist even if they admit to having used marijuana.

Currently, the Marine Corps categorically prohibits waivers from being granted to enable an individual to rejoin the Corps if that person attests to cannabis-use, even if it occurred while he or she was separated from the military. During debate, Rep. Gallego argued for adoption of a more flexible policy allowing for consideration of a Marine's individual circumstances.

While Rep. Gallego's amendment did receive bipartisan support, it was struck down by the House Armed Services Committee, 29-32.

"At a time when a growing number of states are legalizing marijuana, zero tolerance policies simply don't make sense," said Rep. Gallego. "There's ample evidence that the social and personal consequences are far worse for alcohol use than for marijuana use – but we wouldn't be able to assemble even one Marine Corps regiment if we excluded everyone who's ever had a sip of beer or whiskey.

"Smoking pot just once shouldn't prevent a patriotic American from fighting for his country. We need to finally exercise some common sense when it comes to marijuana."