WASHINGTON, D.C. — Members of the U.S. military could get higher even as the bar for entry gets lower.
Congressman Matt Gaetz (R-FL) proposed an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act on Friday that would ambush the military’s prohibition against marijuana by doing away with the cannabis test.
The amendment states: “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.”
Gaetz took to Twitter on Wednesday to comment on the proposal.
“Our military is facing a recruitment and retainment crisis unlike any other time in American history,” he wrote. “I do not believe that prior use of cannabis should exclude Americans from enlisting in the armed forces. We should embrace them for stepping up to serve our country.”
The New York Times reported that roughly 33 percent more recruits tested positive for cannabis last year than in 2020.
SOCIAL MEDIA RESPONSES
Many users responded to Gaetz’s tweet by suggesting there were other reasons why recruitment numbers are declining.
“I don’t think it’s marijuana keeping them from enlisting, I think the ‘woke’ is keeping them from enlisting,” a Republican woman posited.
“Weed is fine, a dude thinking he is a chick, not fine. Stop promoting the latter, bring back honor, courage and sacrifice messaging, trend will reverse itself,” one man added.
While some users expressed support, others bemoaned the tolerance of undisciplined behavior.
One man wrote: “To fix an airplane, drive a semi, piss test, hey,mat, how about a sober life?”
One Twitter user asserted that “getting high in the military is lethal dangerous.”
Another declared: “That is the end of my support for Gaetz.”
EFFECTS OF MARIJUANA USAGE
Although cannabis is considered less addictive and less toxic compared to other legal substances such as alcohol and nicotine, it can have serious side effects.
The National Institutes of Health (NIH) reports that: “When people begin using marijuana as teenagers, the drug may impair thinking, memory, and learning functions and affect how the brain builds connections between the areas necessary for these functions. Researchers are still studying how long marijuana's effects last and whether some changes may be permanent.”
Marijuana can result in permanent IQ loss of as much as eight points when people start using it at a young age, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. It is also linked to poor mental health and negative athletic performance.