US Air Force relaxes marijuana restrictions to boost new recruits

Posted by Sagar Satapathy on January 17, 2017.

In an effort to attract more youth to serve as the airmen and women, the US Air Force has decided to remove marijuana restrictions along with several other changes to recruiting policy, which will come into effect on Feb. 1, 2017.

“The Air Force will remove any prescribed limits on prior use of marijuana in determining accession qualifications. Subordinate commands and agencies are prohibited from developing separate criteria with respect to pre-service use of marijuana,” the policy memo stated.

Under the new policy, the Air Force has removed limitations on prior prescribed marijuana use while determining a recruit's qualifications. The new order extends to all sectors of the Air Force recruitment apparatus; as such, individual commands or recruiters will not be allowed to go rogue in their recruitment criteria in regards to prior marijuana use, according to a statement released by the U.S. Air Force.

"As part of our effort to attract and retain as many qualified Airmen as possible we periodically review our accessions policies," said Air Force Secretary Deborah Lee James. "In this instance, we identified specific changes we can make to allow more members of our nation to serve without compromising quality."

Under the current policy, the Air Force disqualified prospective airmen and women who acknowledge using marijuana a certain number of times within a definite period of time, although the exact criteria differed depending on where applicants were trying to enlist for qualified conditions.

However, the memo stated that marijuana addiction as well as legal proceedings in connection with marijuana use will disqualify the eligibility criteria for the recruits.

The recent changes come less than three months after U.S. Defense Secretary Ash Carter announced a wide-ranging review of policies concerning marijuana use as well as tattoos, parenthood status and fitness standards while recruiting for air force services.

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