“I get why they say it. With a full spectrum product that says ‘CBD only,’ an active-duty member can go and take a bottle thinking it’s only CBD, and then it has THC,” said Joshua Littrel, an Air Force combat veteran and the founder of Veterans for Cannabis, a company that lobbies for the rights of military members to access cannabis while also selling its own line of CBD products.
So what happens if a member of the military gets caught with the wrong shampoo? While the consequences of being caught using illicit substances, including marijuana, can vary for military personnel and can include court martial or service discharge, the use of CBD specifically violates Article 92 of the UCMJ, which means disobeying an order. The maximum punishment under Article 92 is dishonorable discharge and two years of confinement.
“If somebody pissed hot or whatever, they would get nonjudicial punishment … and we would have a conversation with their commander as to how to move forward. Something like pot, I don’t think anybody would have gotten kicked out,” Curci recalled, cautioning that the culture and responses could have changed since he left the military.
A surprising substance has been stirring quiet controversy within the United States military community this year. The use of cannabidiol (CBD) — one of the main active ingredients of cannabis, widely touted for offering a host of potential medical benefits without the “high” of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) — is being contested, as legislators work to overturn a ban on CBD use by active-duty military personnel.
Additionally, the ban was imposed because the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (“FDA”) has yet to promulgate regulations for certification that CBD and hemp products comply with THC concentration restrictions, even though many CBD products are widely available in the marketplace.
6. Definition of Use: To inject, ingest, inhale, or otherwise introduce into the human body (e.g. oral ingestion, smoking/vaping inhalation, topical skin application). “Use” also includes the use of topical products containing hemp and CBD, such as
shampoos, conditions, lotions, lip balms, or soaps.
7. Definition of Hemp: For the purpose of this order, “hemp” is defined as found in 7 U.S.C. 1639o, and means the plant cannabis sativa L. and any part of that plant, including the seeds and all derivatives, extracts, cannabinoids, isomers, acids, salts, and salts of isomers, whether growing or not, with a delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol concentration of not more than 0.3 percent on a dry weight basis.
The United States Navy, the Marine Corps, and the Coast Guard have joined the U.S. Army and Air Force in formally banning the members of each Armed Services branch from using shampoos, lotions, soaps and other topical products made with hemp or hemp-based cannabidiol (“CBD”), which are derived from cannabis plants. The U.S. Coast Guard has followed suit, imposing the same ban on Coast Guard members.