Air Force Gives Cannabis-Using Applicants Second Chance With Waivers For Positive Tests

Air Force Gives Cannabis-Using Applicants Second Chance With Waivers For Positive Tests

The Air Force and Space Force are giving a second chance to applicants who test positive for cannabis during their entrance physical.

As the Air Force struggles to meet its recruiting goals, the temporary policy change marks an attempt to rethink one aspect of the strict ban on cannabis use while on duty.

“Previously, a positive THC result on the initial test would have led to a permanent bar from entry into the [Air Force or Space Force],” said Ann Stefanek an Air Force spokesperson. “The pilot program offers some prospective applicants an opportunity to retest after 90 days if they are granted a waiver.”
To earn a waiver, applicants must score at least 50 points on the Armed Services Qualification Test, have no felony or misdemeanor convictions, possess a high school diploma and be medically qualified for service, reported Air Force Times.

“If those who have been granted a waiver pass a second test, candidates will be allowed to enlist,” Stefanek added.

And Once Admitted...

However, once admitted, airmen and guardians must adhere to the military's prohibition on drug use. The policy applies to active duty Air Force and Space Force, Air Force Reserve, and Air National Guard recruits.

The two-year pilot program, ending September 2024, brings the Air Force in line with the Army Navy, and Marine Corps, which already have similar rules.

Air Force Times reporter Rachel Cohen noted that when the test is complete the Air Force will analyze the results to decide if the policy change will be permanent.

Leslie Brown, a recruiting spokesperson said the Air Force "turns away about 50 applicants from military entry processing stations each year because they have THC in their system."

Recent Legislative Efforts

In July 2020 the House of Representatives approved a measure permitting the use of hemp products and its derivatives for military service members.

In June, House lawmakers approved two amendments to a must-pass defense spending bill concerning marijuana-related issues in the U.S. military.

Photo By Owen Kemp On Unsplash

Posted In: Air Force TimesUS Air ForceCannabisGovernmentRegulationsMarkets

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