Jan 16, 2014 11:40 PM by Tony Spehar

Army not seeing major problems from marijuana legalization

There have been no significant incidents involving marijuana use on Army bases in Colorado since the legalization of marijuana according to Major General Allen Batschelet, Commanding General of Army Recruiting Command.

Batschelet was in Colorado for a recruitment ceremony this weekend, he spoke to News 5 about marijuana and its affect on the Army and recruitment.

"It's still against federal law and the Army's a federal entity," Gen. Batschelet explained.

Though pot may be legalized in Colorado and Washington it's still illegal in the eyes of the federal government. Soldiers are prohibited from using marijuana whether on or off-duty. Batschelet said recruiting was likely one of the areas most affected by legalization, but said it wasn't expected to cause major problems.

"That could affect their application process, of those that are over 21, when they come talk to us," he described. "So legal to use here in the state, but when you start talking to an Army recruiter it could be an obstacle for joining the Army."

Having used marijuana isn't something that can block a potential recruit from joining, it's something recruiters commonly ask about in interviews with prospective soldiers. How much their past pot use affects their joining the Army depends on how much recruits have used marijuana.

"If you're not dependant or it's not a habit then we do have ways that we can accommodate you and bring you into the Army," Batschelet said.

But once you're in, no more marijuana and there can be drug tests. So far Batschelet doesn't see the legalization of pot as something that could have a huge impact on recruitment, but that could change if more states follow Colorado.

"If the trend continues and other states adopt that, make it legal, but it still remains illegal under federal law that's going to have implications that would impact the army negatively," he explained.


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