A GOP-led House committee is proposing to prohibit military branches from testing recruits for marijuana while also asking for an update from the Department of Defense (DOD) on the status of its psychedelics clinical trials.

The House Armed Services Subcommittee on Military Personnel released recommended language containing the cannabis and psychedelics provisions as part of the 2025 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). Members want to see the components included in major annual legislation that’s being taken up in a full committee markup next week.

Under a section on recruitment, the subcommittee proposed eliminating marijuana testing for enlistment purposes:

“SEC. 531 PROHIBITION ON CANNABIS TESTING FOR ENLISTMENT OR COMMISSION IN CERTAIN ARMED FORCES.

Subject to subsection (a) of section 504 of chapter 31 of title 10, United States Code, the Secretary of the military department concerned may not require an individual to submit to a test for cannabis as a condition of enlistment of such individual as a member, or the commission of such individual as an officer, of an Armed Force.”

The recommended section mirrors a proposed amendment to DOD appropriations legislation last year that was led by Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL), who also sits on the personnel subcommittee.

Gaetz told Marijuana Moment on Tuesday that the new NDAA cannabis provision was “a collaborative effort.”

DOD told lawmakers last year that marijuana’s active ingredient delta-9 THC is the most common substance that appears on positive drug tests for active duty military service members. And several military branches have taken steps to loosen cannabis-related restrictions, including issuing waivers for recruits who test positive their first time.

While it remains to be seen if the testing ban will be approved by the full committee during next Wednesday’s markup, its inclusion in the subcommittee draft is notable, especially in the GOP-controlled House.

The panel also proposed report language to follow up on provisions in the most recently enacted NDAA that provide funding for DOD-led clinical trials on the therapeutic potential of psychedelics for active duty military service members.

The recommended report language says the committee “wants to ensure the establishment of the program is progressing without impediment,” and calls on DOD to provide Congress with a status update report by January 31, 2025. Here’s the section:

“Section 723 of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2024 (Public Law 118-31) established a Department of Defense program to study the effectiveness of psychedelic substances and plant-based therapies in treating post-traumatic stress and traumatic brain injuries. The committee wants to ensure the establishment of the program is progressing without impediments. Therefore, the committee directs the Secretary of Defense to provide a briefing to the House Committee on Armed Services no later than January 31, 2025, on the following with regards to the progress of the program:

(1) the Department’s process for funding eligible entities;

(2) the Secretary’s selection for lead administrator to carry out the program;

(3) a list and description of the eligible entities that have been selected for the program;

(4) how the Department notified and selected servicemembers to participate in the program;

(5) how many servicemembers have requested participation in the program;

(6) how many servicemembers have been selected for participation in the program;

(7) any issues the Department is encountering establishing the program;

(8) any anticipated delays to implementing the program; and

(9) any other information the Secretary deems relevant.”

Rep. Morgan Luttrell (R-TX), a former Navy SEAL with personal experience with psychedelics treatment who championed the underlying amendment, told Marijuana Moment earlier this year that he planned to separately meet with military leadership to collaborate on how to effectively administer the program.

Meanwhile, a top official at the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) said at a conference last week that he was initially “surprised” by the level of bipartisan support for psychedelic medicine in Congress. He said, at this point, psychedelics policy enjoys a greater level of bipartisanship than marijuana.

The conference took place about two weeks after the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee passed a bill to require VA to notify Congress if any psychedelics are added to its formulary of covered prescription drugs.

Florida Marijuana Campaign Releases Four Ads To Build Support For Legalization Ballot Initiative Amid Underwhelming Polls

Marijuana Moment is made possible with support from readers. If you rely on our cannabis advocacy journalism to stay informed, please consider a monthly Patreon pledge.

 A GOP-led House committee is proposing to prohibit military branches from testing recruits for marijuana while also asking for an update from the Department of Defense (DOD) on the status of its psychedelics clinical trials. The House Armed Services Subcommittee on Military Personnel released recommended language containing the cannabis and psychedelics provisions as part of  Read More  

By