Republicans Want To Stop Drug Testing Who?

Gage Skidmore from Surprise, AZ, United States of America, CC BY-SA 2.0 , via Wikimedia Commons

( – Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.) suggested an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act that would completely stop service members from being tested for marijuana after they are enlisted or when they are in commission.

In a statement, Gaetz pointed out that the military currently has to deal with a recruitment and retention crisis and that one of the reasons why many Americans are excluded from being allowed to enlist is because they had been using cannabis before. He added that for this reason, he does not think that prior usage of cannabis should block Americans from joining the force, and instead, those people should be embraced for wanting to serve.

In 2022 there was approximately a 33 percent increase in the number of recruits who tested positive for cannabis when compared to 2020. This also included states where the use of marijuana has been legalized. Following the legalization of marijuana many in the U.S. government have relaxed the testing guidelines in the military when it comes to drugs.

Medical marijuana has been legalized in 38 states and Washington, D.C. while recreational marijuana was legalized in 22 states and Washington, D.C. Still federal law still states that the drug is illegal.

The New York Times reported that over 3,400 new military recruits did not pass the drug test they took on the first day, but that they had been given the right to test again.

Gaetz’s amendment is only the latest proposition for the legalization of marijuana in the U.S. military.

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