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White House Opposes Proposal To End Marijuana Testing For Military Recruits, Calling Cannabis Use A ‘Readiness And Safety Concern’



The White House has come out against a proposal to prevent military branches from testing for marijuana for enlistment or commission as part of a large-scale defense bill, calling cannabis use a “military readiness and safety concern.”

In a “statement of administration policy” that was released on Tuesday, the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) outlined their “concerns” with various provisions of the 2025 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) that’s being prepared this week by the House Rules Committee for floor action.

One of the components the administration said it opposes is Section 532, which stipulates that military branches “may not require an individual to submit to a test for cannabis as a condition of enlistment of such individual as a member, or the commission of such individual as an officer, of an Armed Force.”

OMB said the Biden administration “appreciates Congress’ desire to increase the available military accessions pool.”

“However, the Administration opposes Section 532, which would prevent DoD from testing applicants for Δ9-THC and Δ8-THC contained in marijuana (cannabis),” it says. “The use of marijuana by Servicemembers is a military readiness and safety concern.”

The section at issue mirrors a proposed amendment to DOD appropriations legislation last year that was led by Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL).

“Because Joe Biden was running out of ways to turn off young voters, he decided to oppose any cannabis reform that didn’t enrich big pharma,” Gaetz told Marijuana Moment on Tuesday after the OMB document was posted.

DOD told lawmakers last year that marijuana’s active ingredient delta-9 THC is the most common substance that appears on positive drug tests for active duty military service members. And several military branches have taken steps to loosen cannabis-related restrictions, including issuing waivers for recruits who test positive their first time.

Meanwhile, GOP lawmakers have filed an amendment to the NDAA that will be taken up by the Rules Committee on Tuesday that would strip the cannabis enlistment language from the bill, which advanced through the Armed Services Committee late last month.

Members of the Rules Committee will also consider a separate bipartisan amendment to the defense bill that would require the secretary of defense to submit a report to Congress with a plan to “create, disseminate, and use a clear definition for the reenlistment waiver process” to clarify that the existing policy allows for such waivers to reapply for enlistment after testing positive for THC.

This isn’t the first time that the Biden administration has found itself at odds with cannabis reform supporters in Congress.

For example, the president’s budget requests have consistently kept intact a rider of a large-scale spending bill that blocks Washington, D.C. from using its local tax dollars to implement a system of adult-use marijuana sales. Even under GOP control this year, the newly released relevant bill excludes that rider.

Of course, President Joe Biden has earned praise for other cannabis-related actions he’s taken—particularly his marijuana scheduling review directive that’s led the Justice Department to recommend reclassifying cannabis under federal law, as well as two rounds of mass marijuana pardons he issued.

The president and vice president have been campaigning on the cannabis rescheduling move, and they’ve sought to contrast their support for marijuana reform with actions that took place under former President Donald Trump.

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