There are over 30 states in which cannabis use is legal either recreationaly or medically. Some military spouses who live in states where marijuana is legal find themselves asking, “Does that mean I can smoke?”
The short answer is yes, if it’s legal in your state. The long answer, like most things with the military, is a little more complicated.
If you’re a military spouse or dependent who is hoping to head over to the nearest cannabis dispensary ASAP, here’s what you need to know:
Though affiliated with military, be it active duty, Reserves, or National Guard, military spouses are still treated as civilians in the eyes of the law and the military. So, if something is legal in your state, then military spouses are treated the same as any other civilian.
But that doesn’t give you free reign to smoke wherever you want. This is especially true on government property as it is still a federally-controlled substance. Government property includes on base or in any military housing (on base or off). You can’t bring it on base in your car and you can’t bring it in your house if you’re living in military housing as that is subject to inspection.
Also, be aware that even if you can use cannabis, your service member cannot. That includes Reservists and National Guard because they are bound by federal laws. Further, because it is illegal federally, service members cannot participate in any marijuana related activities. That includes not only ingesting the substance, but also attending marijuana specific festivals and the like. You may also want to be cognizant of whether or not your spouse is in close enough proximity to you to receive a second-hand smoke contact high. If your service member has enough marijuana in his or her system to show up on a drug test, that could be the end of their career, even if they never smoked.
Lastly, remember that driving while under the influence of marijuana is still considered driving impaired and could land you a DUI.
So, what have we learned?
- Yes, military spouses can smoke marijuana if it is legal in the state in which he or she resides.
- No, you cannot bring it on base or in military housing (on base or off) in any form.
- Service members cannot, under any circumstances, ingest marijuana regardless of where they live as it is still a federally controlled substance.
- Driving with marijuana in your system is still considered driving under the influence.
Kristen Baker-Geczy is a communications specialist, active duty military spouse, and former MWR marketing coordinator. She was also deployed to Southwest Asia as an Air Force contractor.
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