In an effort to strengthen its recruiting process, the United States Air Force has amended its anti-drug policy to not immediately disqualify recruits who have used marijuana in the past.
On Monday, Secretary of the Air Force Deborah James issued a news release detailing various changes made to Air Force accession policies. Among the list, which includes waivers for people with various health conditions and tattoos, comes an important modification pertaining to marijuana.
“The revised policy will remove the service prescribed numerical limitations on prior use of marijuana when determining accession qualifications,” the release states.
However, Air Force officials will still refuse applicants who may have entered into a drug treatment center at some point in their young lives for substance abuse problems, even if the issue was only pot-related.
“In accordance with DOD standards, a medical diagnosis of substance-related disorders or addiction remains medically disqualifying for service,” the memo continues.
The Air Force may also deny any candidate who has been arrested and/or convicted as a result of a marijuana crime. It is not clear, however, whether simple possession alone would lead to ineligibility.
“Additionally, any legal proceedings associated with pre-service use will continue to be reviewed and adjudicated separately and may be disqualifying depending on the nature of the offense(s).”
While this military branch no longer seeks to rule out candidates who may have experimented with marijuana, these changes in policy will have no effect whatsoever on its overall position against marijuana.
“The Air Force will maintain a strict “no use” policy. An applicant or enlistee will be disqualified for service if they use drugs after the initial entrance interview,” the memo concludes.
It is not yet known whether any other branch of the U.S. Military will take similar action, but there is a distinct possibility that more will fall in line.
Last year, U.S. Secretary of Defense Ash Carter told a group at a TechCrunch event that the Pentagon should allow recruits that may have used marijuana in the past.
Carter said the military should “not hold against them things they’ve done when they were younger.”