The Navy says the new rules were made to “protect sailors from potential tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) exposure that could negatively impact mission readiness and disqualify a Sailor from continued service.”
“It is impossible for consumers to determine how much THC a product actually contains in the current environment where label claims are not trustworthy,” the Navy said in an online statement.
Department of Defense officials say “it’s not reasonable or practical” for them to test every hemp product to figure out which products could prompt a positive urinalysis result, according to the statement.
Health care workers working long shifts are finding CBD helpful on their days off for restorative sleep pain and inflammation, low back and neck pain, and panic attacks.
In December 2018, Congress voted to legalize the cultivation of hemp after months of debate and negotiation between lawmakers.
For decades, the federal government has treated hemp just like any other cannabis plant. Since 1970, it had been classified as a schedule 1 drug on the Drug Enforcement Administration’s list of controlled substances, alongside heroin, LSD and marijuana. The DEA defines schedule 1 drugs as having no currently accepted medical use and a high potential for abuse.
Enforcing a drug-free workplace
“This really is about the health of the force and ensuring the Navy remains a drug-free workplace,” LA Parker, Drug Detection & Deterrence branch head for the 21st Century Sailor office said in the online statement. “We have to be fit to fight and can’t take a risk in allowing our Sailors to consume or use these types of products.”
Sailors and Marines with a valid medical prescription for CBD products approved by the Food and Drug Administration are still allowed to use them.
The Navy said they don’t restrict the use of “durable hemp goods like rope and clothing.”
If a service member tests positive for THC or other substances without a valid prescription, they could be discharged, and the discharge characterized as “Other Than Honorable.”
“Every Sailor has a personal responsibility to diligently avoid intentional or accidental exposure to THC and other prohibited substances,” the statement said.
CNN’s Lisa Drayer, Harmeet Kaur, Alicia Wallace and Parija Kavilanz contributed to this report.