The marijuana wave in the U.S. seems to go beyond the individual states. More states are lessening the penalties for using marijuana with some eliminating them completely. The army is now also being part of this process now. The army is willing to grant hundreds of waivers to people who might have used marijuana before and want to be enlisted in the military. There is a catch; you will never use marijuana again while in the military.
More waivers for recruits
It is not as if there were no waivers. In 2016, the recruits would be given 191 waivers, but that number is now over 500. This includes if you used marijuana before. Comparing this high number of waivers to the past, it is a major improved. About three years ago, not a single waiver was granted. It could be one way that the officials and generals are dealing with the orders of expanding the army size.
Maj. Gen. Jeff Snow says that so long as the recruits understand that they cannot use marijuana again once enlisted, the army has no trouble giving them waivers. This means that more people who might have wanted to join the army before, but got barred because of marijuana drug test and always get in the force this time.
The exclusion of marijuana use represented about one-quarter of the misconduct waivers that the army had granted for the last budget year. Now that year ended in Sept. 30, this meant that they could implement more waivers. The changes to the waivers have seen a 50 percent increase in the number of people who are willing to join the army. Snow further said that more recruits would be chosen once more states in the U.S. legalize the use of marijuana.
States such as Alaska, Washington, Oregon, Massachusetts and many others have legalized the use of recreational marijuana. You have to be an adult 21 years and above to use the recreational marijuana in these states. You also have to only possess small amounts for personal consumption. With many other states decriminalizing it, marijuana could now easily get itself on the list of waivers. In some states, being found with marijuana is considered a low-end misdemeanor with no chances of jail. You might have to pay fine and you are good to do.
How many have benefited?
It is possible that you can get many people criticizing the army for recruiting such people with a history of drug use to join the army. That being said, we also have to consider just how many people have benefited from such a waiver. The army data show that more than 8,000 recruits so far received waivers in 2017. This is a huge increase compared to 6,700 in 2016. Most of the waivers offered were on the physical and mental aspects of the recruit. In total, the army managed to get almost 69,000 recruits in 2017. This is 6000 more than what they recruited in 2016. It goes further to show that with more waivers, they get to find more soldiers.
More category-four recruits
Snow said that the checked with his Army leadership if he could get more category four recruits into the army. This was with the aim to meet the high enlistment goals. He had further promised to keep the numbers low at 4 percent. This is the limit that the group is allowed by the U.S. Pentagon.
Category four recruits are those with lower than 31 score on the aptitude test. The top army officers have come out to defend the system that it does not lower the standards of the army. It is simply a way of accommodating more people with diversity in the army.
The concern is still something genuine and it cannot be overlooked. This happened before and the same mistake cannot be repeated. When the U.S. was at war with Iraq, more soldiers would be recruited to meet the deployment quota. This led to many waivers that people with criminal records were enlisted. The same happened to bumping them to higher ranks when they had no experience at all. The top army chiefs have however confirmed that such would never happen again. They will make sure that quality remains paramount at all times.