The United States Army is becoming more understanding of past cannabis consumption, according to the latest budget data. While the United States Army began to recruit some former cannabis consumers in 2016 and granted 191 waivers last year to recruits who admitted to smoking cannabis in the past, this year, it will be granting over 500 waivers to recruits who have smoked cannabis in the past.
Cannabis-related waivers account for up to a quarter or total misconduct waivers in last year’s budget that ended on September 30.
“Provided they understand that they cannot do that when they serve in the military, I will waive that all day long,” stated Maj. Gen. Jeff Snow, head of the Army’s recruiting command.
With eight states that have now completely legalized cannabis, it’s hardly reasonable to bar every single recruit that has tried consuming the plant, especially when consumption occurred months or years ago in the past.
According to recent data, over 8,000 recruits received waivers in 2017, a slight jump from 6,700 in 2016. Last year, the Army recruited 69,000 men and women, nearly 6,000 more than the year before.
Gen. Mark Milley, the Army’s top officer, stipulated that the Army is not compromising its standards, as recruits cannot continue to consume cannabis while they are in the service. “Quality matters more than quantity. If you make the numbers, great, awesome. But do not break the standards,” Milley told the Associated Press. “Standards have to be upheld, period. So if we come in at less than the ideal number, but we’ve maintained the standards, that’s success.”
While the Army is currently loosening its restrictions on past cannabis consumption, it also doesn’t want to make the mistakes of the past by easing restrictions in general before deploying new soldiers.