US House Committee Passes Bill That Would End Marijuana Testing for Military Recruits and Prospective Officers

A key House committee has approved a federal defense bill that includes a provision to end marijuana testing for military recruits and prospective officers.

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The House Armed Services Committee has given approval to the 2025 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), a massive defense bill necessary for funding national defense and military operations. Included in the bill is a provision that prohibits marijuana testing of military recruits and potential officers.

Section 531 titled “PROHIBITION ON CANNABIS TESTING FOR ENLISTMENT OR COMMISSION IN CERTAIN ARMED FORCES” states:

Subject to subsection (a) of section 504 of chapter 31 of title 10, United States Code, the Secretary of the military department concerned 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.”

Approval of this provision coincides with the federal government’s move to reschedule marijuana and comes at a time when 24 states have legalized recreational marijuana and 38 have legalized marijuana for medical use.

The provision aims to address dwindling military recruitment numbers. A Gallup poll released last month found that 12% of Americans aged 18-29, the prime demographic for military recruiting, reported using marijuana regularly (defined as at least 10 days per month).

The provision to end cannabis testing for enlistment and commissioning in this year’s House Armed Services Committee draft of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) follows the military branches’ own steps to lessen the impact of past marijuana use. The Air Force is conducting a popular pilot program that allows recruits who test positive for marijuana to retest. The Navy recently expanded its program to grant waivers to recruits who test positive for marijuana, and the Army also has a waiver program.

This year’s NDAA provision mirrors an amendment proposed by Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL), for last year’s defense bill, which never received a committee vote.

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