US Coast Guard bans active duty service members from entering dispensaries
This is completely within their rights, of course, but seems pretty harsh. The US Coast Guard sent out an order earlier this week mandating that active service members in the Guard cannot buy, sell, or use marijuana. But the restrictions don’t stop there — they’re even banned from entering a shop that sells cannabis, they’re banned from “any event or with any entity that sells, promotes, celebrates, or encourages, or seeks to further the use of marijuana and illegal THC-based products,” and they’re not allowed to invest in or own any business that has anything to do with cannabis at all.
In the order, the Coast Guard stated that it believed participating in any of those activities would go against “our Core Values and our role as a federal law enforcement agency.” Cannabis is currently legal in many US states, but the federal government itself still considers the drug illegal. The Coast Guard doesn’t list an exact penalty for breaking the rules, but violating any general order can carry a punishment of up to two years in jail, along with a dishonorable discharge.
So if you want to enjoy or use cannabis, don’t join the Coast Guard. We get it — obviously the Coast Guard has an important job, and there definitely are risks associated with using cannabis on the job, just like there are problems with making bad choices while drinking alcohol. The Coast Guard was also third on a study of binge drinking rates among US military services, so cannabis might not be their worst problem. The branch does routinely does work to raise awareness of alcohol issues among its members, which is admirable — but then again, we’ve never seen a Coast Guard order banning its members from bars or liquor shops. If this order works to keep the Coast Guard away from cannabis, perhaps they could do the same for alcohol, a drug that’s arguably more damaging and a much wider threat.