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Marijuana use still illegal for DoD members despite Prop 64

TRAVIS AIR FORCE BASE, Calif – California recently passed Proposition 64, The Adult Marijuana Use Act, making recreational use of marijuana legal in the state.

It joins Washington, Oregon, Nevada, Colorado, Massachusetts, Maine, and Alaska as states with legalized recreational use of marijuana.  Twenty states has legalized medical marijuana: Montana, North Dakota, Minnesota, Michigan, Ohio, Illinois, Pennsylvania, New York, Maryland, New Jersey, Connecticut, Vermont, New Hampshire, Delaware, Florida, Louisiana, Arkansas, New Mexico, Arizona and Hawaii.

However, this does not mean use or possession of marijuana is legal at Travis Air Force Base, California or any Department of Defense installation. Federal Law supersedes the legislative initiatives of the State and District or Territories of the United States.

The DoD has a clear position on drug use within the service: zero tolerance. Drug use undermines combat and mission readiness and is incompatible with the maintenance of high standards of performance and military discipline.

According to the Uniform Code of Military Justice, Article 112a, any DoD member is subject to this chapter and if found using, possessing, manufacturing, distributing drugs or introducing into an installation, vehicle or aircraft shall be punished as a court-marital may direct.

Marijuana is a Schedule I drug, meaning it is illegal for military members to use or possess it in any form and is in violation of UCMJ Article 112a, which applies to all military members on and off duty.

Travis AFB is a federal installation and any individuals on Travis are subject to federal law, meaning it is illegal for anyone, military or civilian, to possess marijuana anywhere on the installation, including on-base housing. If found on the installation, individuals may be subject to court procedures, base debarment or other disciplinary action. This means even for civilian dependents of military members, it is illegal for them to use, possess, distribute, manufacture or introduce marijuana while on the installation.

This can have repercussions for the sponsor as well. Sponsors are reminded that it is their responsibility to ensure dependents are aware of, and abide by, all Federal, Air Force and Travis laws and regulations.

The restrictions above not only apply to members of the military. Executive order 12564, Drug-Free Federal Workplace, requires federal employees to refrain from the use of illegal drugs, as defined by federal law, both on and off duty. Violation of EO 12564 can lead to disciplinary actions, including removal from federal civil service.

Military members, federal employees and dependents need to be aware that marijuana can be sold in food, drinks and other forms. Marijuana in commercial forms is still illegal as outline above.

To avoid any violations of the policy and law, all Travis personnel are advised to avoid locations that have drugs or promote drugs or drug use.

Additionally, personnel should avoid any products that contain hemp or hemp seed oil, such as some shampoos and soap. Use of Hemp products and any other products containing Hemp are prohibited and a violation of Article 92, UCMJ.  Studies have shown products made with hemp seed and hemp seed oil may contain varying levels of tetrahydrocannabinol, an active ingredient of marijuana, which is detectable under the Air Force Drug Testing Program. 

In order to ensure military readiness, the ingestion of products containing or products derived from the hemp seed or seed oil is prohibited.  Products containing hemp seed or hemp seed oil are readily available, especially through the internet. The quantity of THC in those products are often unknown.

Due to hemp seed products being readily available around the world with no standard regulatory oversight, it becomes an impossible task to prevent members from inadvertently consuming hemp seed THC that could result in a false positive drug test result. Therefore, it is easier to ban the consumption of hemp seed products than to educate and expect members to understand which hemp seed products they consume may cause a THC positive drug test.  Prohibiting the consumption of hemp seed products serves the purpose of protecting Airmen without detracting from the mission or unnecessarily limiting the types of food airmen may consume.

The 60th Air Mobility Wing Drug Demand Reduction Program regularly tests for drug use.

Travis is required to collect 100 percent of the base’s end strength, or approximately 6,200 samples for the fiscal year.

THC use at Travis has increased in the last two years. In fiscal year 16, there were 12 positive tests for THC. In FY 17, it was 21 positive tests. A positive test result, or other evidence of controlled substance abuse, can have serious career consequences.

For questions or concerns, contact the DDRP at 707-424-0153.