In a major development, Alaska-based U.S. soldiers have been forbidden to attend any events involving promotion of the use of marijuana or hemp, including all fairs, festivals and conventions, while the state prepares to allow legal marijuana sales.
The U.S. Army on Thursday issued a commanding general policy letter, signed by Maj. Gen. Bryan Owens, prohibiting Alaska-based soldiers from attending marijuana-related events and festivals. The policy says attendance at such events is inconsistent with military service and could adversely impact the health, welfare and good order and discipline of soldiers.
The policy also points out that marijuana remains illegal in the military and incompatible with military service as well. The soldiers who possess, use, or distribute marijuana or any derivative on an Alaska base are in violation the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ). Any violation is subject to adverse administrative action and punishment under the UCMJ.
The new USARAK policy was issued because “we just wanted to make sure folks know the left and right limits when they leave the installation,” said spokesman John Pennell. “One of those limits is, if it has to do with cannabis, if it has to do with marijuana or hemp, stay away.
The policy was put in place as a pre-emptive move, Pennell said, and also because a few marijuana organizations in Alaska have offered military discounts in recent past.
Alaska has already legalized recreational use of marijuana. Persons aged 21 or older can possess limited amount of marijuana as well as grow and give away as many as six marijuana plants. However, the use of marijuana is banned in all public spaces, such as schools, businesses, parks etc.