CAROL THOMPSON, A PARTNER AT THE FEDERAL PRACTICE GROUP, SPEAKS WITH FEDERAL NEWS NETWORK ON MARIJUANA AND FEDERAL LAW

Posted By smay || 12-Aug-2019

Navy tells sailors to tamp out any CBD, hemp use

August 7, 2019 1:08 pm

The Navy is warning its sailors to stay away from the deluge of CBD products that are popping up from convenience stores to farmers markets.

A Wednesday release from Navy Secretary Richard Spencer is telling sailors that even if cannabidiol (CBD) is legal throughout the country, it’s not OK to use.

“Sailors and Marines are prohibited from knowingly using products made or derived from hemp, including CBD, regardless of the products’ THC concentration, claimed or actual, and regardless of whether such product may lawfully be bought, sold, and used under the law applicable to civilians,” the release states. “Use means to inject, ingest, inhale, or otherwise introduce into the human body. Use includes the knowing use of hemp products designed to penetrate through the skin layer, including but not limited to trans-dermal patches.”

Sailors with a valid prescription for the limited FDA-approved CBD products are exempt. The prohibition also does not apply to topical products like shampoos, conditioners, lotions or soaps.

“Sailors who test positive for THC or other controlled substances for which they have no valid prescription are subject to mandatory administrative processing and could receive a discharge characterized as other than honorable, which can affect future veteran’s benefits and employment opportunities,” the release states.

The 2018 Agriculture Improvement Act removed industrialized hemp products, like CBD, with less than 0.3% THC in them from the controlled substances list.

Since then products of every flavor, type and texture have popped up on the commercial market.

The release reminds sailors that over-the-counter hemp products have not been inspected by the FDA and therefore have not been proven to diagnose, treat, prevent or cure any illnesses.

“Some of these products do not list all ingredients, making it impossible to know definitively how much CBD, THC or other synthetic cannabinoids they may contain,” the release states. “It is possible to test positive for THC on a urinalysis by using a CBD or hemp product. It can be impossible to determine where a CBD or hemp product was manufactured and what level of THC it may contain. Even trace amounts of THC can accumulate in the body and be detected in a urinalysis screening.”

The stock question

Hemp products aren’t the only thing that can mess with your security clearance and job in the Navy, buying and selling marijuana stocks can jeopardize your clearance too.

The DoD Consolidated Adjudications Facility’s current legal position is that ownership of marijuana stocks is considered involvement in drug-related activities, and would be a “reportable incident” under the continuous evaluation process. Potentially, it could lead to the loss of security clearances for service members, contractors and DoD civilians.

Marijuana stocks are all the buzz on Wall Street. Companies involved in marijuana products are showing big gains in the stock market, as they continue to make deals with companies like Constellation Brands Inc., the parent company of Corona beer, and the Altria Group Inc., owner of a handful of cigarette brands.

Marijuana stocks are finding their way into some mutual funds. For example, Vanguard’s Developed Markets Index Fund owns shares in Aurora Cannabis, Canopy Growth and other marijuana-affiliated companies. That may force DoD employees to look harder at their financial statements.

“Recognizing that many states have legalized marijuana, it is still something that is prohibited under federal law,” Carol Thompson, partner at The Federal Practice Group, told Federal News Network. “Holding a federal security clearance with one of the adjudicated guidelines being involvement with drugs or drug use, then purchasing any kind of stock of that nature — especially if it’s intentional or knowing — could be seen as supporting something, under federal law, that is still illegal.”

Still, a U.S. government official told Federal News Network that it would be tough for DoD to enforce the policy for every stock in a mutual fund. The official said DoD would be more likely to enforce the policy on someone who is directly involved with a marijuana dispensary or farm.

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By Scott Maucione| @smaucioneWFED

Scott Maucione is a defense reporter for Federal News Network and reports on human capital, workforce and the Defense Department at-large. Follow @smaucioneWFED

Categories: Federal Employment Law, Firm News, Military Personnel Law, Security Clearance
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