Former Marine turned Congressman pitches bill to loosen marijuana restrictions for troops re-enlisting

Jack Murphy
July 06, 2020 - 10:29 am
The pots

Photo by Alberto Ortega/Getty Images

House Armed Services Committee lawmakers included a provision into their draft of the annual defense spending bill last week that would loosen restrictions that currently bar troops from re-enlistment if they have smoked marijuana.

Congressman and former Marine, Ruben Gallego, D-Ariz., has been pitching the proposal for a number of years before getting it into the National Defense Authorization Act as an amendment.

The measure would allow a person to rejoin the military if they "truthfully attests to cannabis use while he or she was separated from the military by allowing the Pentagon to grant waivers on a case-by-case basis," according to the amendment. 

“Smoking pot just once shouldn’t prevent a patriotic American from fighting for our country,” Gallego said in a statement. “We need to finally exercise some common sense when it comes to our marijuana policies, and I’m glad my amendment will lead us in that direction.”

Before becoming a congressional representative, Gallego served as a Marine infantryman with Lima Company, 3rd Battalion, 25th Marine Regiment and deployed to Iraq.

The amendment to the NDAA now must survive debate from the full House before heading to the Senate in order to change the current department of defense policy.

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Reach Jack Murphy: jack@connectingvets.com or @JackMurphyRGR.