Rep. Matt Gaetz Wants To End Cannabis Testing For US Military, Citing Recruitment Crisis

Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.) has proposed an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act that would eliminate cannabis testing for individuals wanting to enlist as a member or commissioned officer in the US armed forces.

Gaetz says eliminating cannabis testing could help the military meet its recruitment goals.

“Our military is facing a recruitment and retainment crisis, unlike any other time in American history. I do not believe that prior use of cannabis should exclude Americans from enlisting in the armed forces. We should embrace them for stepping up to serve our country,” Gaetz said Wednesday in a statement on Twitter, initially reported by Politico.

Gaetz has been supportive of legalizing cannabis both in his home state of Florida as well as on a national level. His views are in sharp contrast to Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis who has said he would not decriminalize marijuana if elected president. 

Last spring, Gaetz voted with Democrats to legalize cannabis at the federal level via the Marijuana Opportunity Reinvestment and Expungement Act, but the bill died in the Senate.

As the federal government struggles to replace its aging workforce in recent years, recruiters have responded by loosening drug screening rules, according to records obtained by The New York Times.

With more states legalizing adult-use marijuana, the government has relaxed policies around drug testing, including in the military but recruitment is still lagging.

More than 3,400 new military recruits who failed a drug test on their first day were given a grace period to test again in the past five years, according to the NY Times.

Photo: Matt Gaetz, Twitter

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