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Marijuana remains illegal for Airmen to use, possess, distribute

US Air Force Graphic By Airman First Class Taylor Curry

US Air Force Graphic By Airman First Class Taylor Curry

FAIRCHILD AIR FORCE BASE, Wash. -- Despite recent changes in Washington state law, marijuana remains illegal for Airmen to use, possess, distribute, introduce or manufacture.

The passage of Washington state's Initiative 502 in November 2012 led to the state-sanctioned licensing and regulation of marijuana production and distribution. The initiative also removed the state criminal and civil penalties for recreational use of marijuana for persons older than 21. Federal law and Department of Defense policy have not changed. Active duty members, DOD civilians, dependents and visitors who attempt to use, possess, distribute, introduce or manufacture marijuana -- medicinal or otherwise -- on military property continue to risk criminal and civil penalties. 

Active duty military members found abusing narcotics, including marijuana, may face punishment under Article 112a of the Uniform Code of Military Justice. The Air Force also maintains a Zero Tolerance policy on the use of illegal drugs; perpetrators face mandatory discharge processing which may result in the forfeiture of veteran's benefits. Gen. Darren McDew, Air Mobility Command commander, reinforced this with a memorandum, dated March 5, 2015, regarding marijuana use and possession, stating, "Active duty members are subject to the UCMJ at all times regardless of leave status or state law. All military personnel also remain subject to random and command-directed drug testing." 

Civilians, including military dependents and visitors, found in violation of federal law and regulation regarding narcotics risk referral to civilian law enforcement agencies and debarment from the military installation, to include base housing. DOD civilian employees also risk adverse administrative actions, termination of employment, and loss of security clearance. DOD employees remain subject to drug testing if it is a condition of their employment.

If you have any questions, please contact the 92nd Air Refueling Wing Staff Judge Advocate office at (509) 247-2838.