The U.S. House of Representatives approved an amendment to a defense spending bill on Monday that would allow members of the military to use CBD. The amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), from Democratic Rep. Tulsi Gabbard of Hawaii, was approved by a vote of 360 to 71 as part of a package of amendments to the House version of the bill.
“The Secretary of Defense may not prohibit, on the basis of a product containing hemp or any ingredient derived from hemp, the possession, use, or consumption of such product by a member of the Armed Forces,” the amendment from Gabbard reads.
The amendment is a response to a Department of Defense policy issued in February by Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness Matthew P. Donovan that directed all branches of the military to enact prohibitions on CBD and other hemp products, despite the crop being legalized with the passage of the 2018 Farm Bill. The memo from Donovan said that CBD use posed “a serious risk to the viability of the military drug testing program,” which is unable to distinguish between THC from hemp and other forms of cannabis.
Because legal hemp and CBD products are permitted to contain up to 0.3% THC, the Department of Defense opted for a complete ban on the products, citing the “risks and adverse effects marijuana use has on the mission for readiness of individual Service members and military units.”
Hemp Industry Calls For Senate Support
If Gabbard’s amendment is included in the final version of the appropriations bill agreed to by the Senate and signed by the president, that ban would be reversed. Jonathan Miller, the general counsel for the trade group U.S. Hemp Roundtable, told High Times that would be welcome news to our women and men in uniform.
“If it becomes law, the amendment will reverse the Department of Defense’s harsh policy that makes the use of hemp products by military service members a crime—a policy that quietly came into effect earlier this year,” Miller said in an email. “The amendment will also invalidate policies by the Army and Air Force that ban the use of hemp products and policies by the Navy and Marine Corps that limit acceptable use to topical products.”
Former service member David Metzler, the CEO of CBD nutraceuticals investment and scaling company CBDCapitalGroup, said that the benefits of cannabidiol are particularly suited for his comrades in arms.
“Every day around 22 veterans commit suicide in America, which is 130% more than the rate of the general population,” he wrote in an email. “As a Navy veteran, I believe that active military members should be able to utilize the many therapeutic benefits of hemp-derived CBD and not have to risk their careers or be penalized to do so.”
“Their only option,” he continued, “is to use opiates and synthetic anti-depression medications to improve their mental and physical health, even though many of these medications have negative side effects for PTSD.”
Metzler also noted that CBD can have a positive impact on the body as well as the mind.
“Many active military members have strenuous daily jobs that put great wear and tear on their bodies and it is our responsibility as an industry to make sure that legislation is passed so that they can use non-addictive, non-opioid anti-inflammatories like CBD to be able to stay healthy and defend our country.”
Miller of the U.S. Hemp Roundtable said that while hemp enjoys bipartisan support in the Senate, the inclusion of Gabbard’s amendment in the final version of the NDAA isn’t certain. He urged those who support a robust hemp industry “to use our online portal to urge your U.S. Senators to pass similar language allowing the use of CBD by U.S. military personnel.”