Past and current cannabis use still comes with a myriad of disadvantages for people in certain fields. Even though dozens of states now allow medical and recreational cannabis use, federal law still prohibits cannabis use. As a result, applicants and employees who work in certain fields or agencies often face stringent zero-tolerance drug policies that do not allow cannabis use regardless of local state law.
Professional athletes in most major sports, truck drivers and army recruits are among the classes of individuals that are subject to workplace drug tests and can face termination for failed drug tests and, in some cases, past cannabis use.
A pair of lawmakers is looking to loosen the policies on prior cannabis use for recruits in the military and people seeking security clearance. This would alleviate what the bipartisan pair of legislators call a “retirement and retainment crisis” by increasing the applicant pool for Defense Department personnel.
Every single branch of the U.S. military has struggled to meet its recruiting goals since 2022 amid record-low numbers of eligible Americans. Furthermore, experts say that of those who qualify to serve, few are willing to join the military, leading to one of the most prolific recruitment crises in U.S. history. An internal survey by the Defense Department found that only 9% of young Americans who qualify to enlist are interested in joining the military.
Representative Matt Gaetz is proposing an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act to eliminate cannabis testing for military recruits and to allow applicants who have used cannabis in the past to join the military. Gaetz argued that past cannabis use should never exclude citizens from enlisting in the military and said that rather than penalizing them, such recruits should be embraced for stepping up to serve America.
Ret. Lt. Gen. Thomas Spoehr of the think tank Heritage Foundation said that the military has not seen such a massive recruitment shortfall since 1973 when America exited Vietnam and officially ended the draft. Army’s chief of staff, Gen. James McConville, said in 2022 that over three-quarters of U.S. adults aged 17 to 24 are disqualified from enlisting in the military largely due to drug use, obesity or criminal records, and the pool of eligible applicants shrinks each year.
Additionally, a 2022 survey by Monmouth University found that 54% of American adults have used cannabis in their lifetime. Eliminating candidates for past cannabis use effectively cuts the already-small applicant pool by one-half. In 2022 alone, close to 5,000 applicants did not make the cut due failed drug tests, an increase of 33% from 2020.
Eliminating drug-testing requirements and penalties for prior cannabis use would widen the applicant pool and allow the military to meet some of its recruitment demands in the short term.
The drug-development programs of companies such as IGC Pharma Inc. (NYSE American: IGC) could also address the needs of those who currently use marijuana for medical reasons since these formulations would be subjected to the FDA approval process, and success would mean that no one would be sanctioned for using those medicines once they can be prescribed by doctors.
NOTE TO INVESTORS: The latest news and updates relating to IGC Pharma Inc. (NYSE American: IGC) are available in the company’s newsroom at https://cnw.fm/IGC
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