As Canada inches closer to nationwide legalization of adult use of recreational cannabis, the nation’s military will be compelled to change its policy regarding marijuana consumption. And it looks like good news for troops.
The Canadian military will be unable to impose a complete ban on cannabis consumption. Instead, the military restrictions would be similar to how the nation’s military force handles alcohol.
The new policy “allows us to respect the law,” Lt.-Gen. Chuck Lamarre, chief of military personnel, said in an interview with CBC. “But at the same time, I think Canadians are expecting our operational readiness and our ability to do our business must never be compromised.”
Lamarre does not foresee a jump in cannabis consumption among members of the Armed Forces when it becomes legal. “I don’t anticipate a whole whack of sparking up,” Lamarre told CBC with a chuckle. “There’s no total ban at this point,” he said. “We can’t do that. If the law says it’s no longer criminal to have it in your possession, it’s not a criminal act. You just can’t ban it outright.”
Under the Lamarre plan, branch commanders — for the army, navy, air force and special forces — has been asked to designate certain jobs which will be subject to restrictions. But the restrictions on personnel must be “very specific.”
The military’s former judge advocate general, Blaise Cathcart, has argued that banning marijuana in the military would be an onerous task once the federal government legalizes it.
Since 2007, the Canadian military conducted random blind drug tests for its troops. According to these tests, cannabis consistently has been the illegal drug of choice.