Canadian Armed Forces release policy on the use of cannabis by military members

Cannabis

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With Canada’s new cannabis laws set to come into force on October 17, 2018, the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) has issued a new policy that provides clear direction and guidance to CAF members regarding cannabis consumption.

The policy – known as Defence Administrative Order and Directive (DAOD) 9004-1, Use of Cannabis by CAF members – is an order that applies to officers and non-commissioned members of the Canadian Armed Forces and a directive that applies to employees of the Department of National Defence (DND) who supervise CAF members.

The DAOD comes into effect on October 17, 2018, and was developed to ensure that the Canadian military remains a fit, deployable, and effective force by establishing periods of prohibition for the consumption of cannabis while fostering a safe and healthy workplace for all members of the Defence Team.

Under the order of the Chief of the Defence Staff, General Jonathan Vance, the policy establishes that all CAF members are prohibited from cannabis consumption within eight hours prior to performing any duty, while additional prohibitions of 24 hours and up to 28 days are also in place depending on the duty being performed by the member. A total prohibition applies to members participating in a domestic or international operation, exercise, or collective training.

Every military member is strongly urged to read and fully understand the content of the policy to avoid the potential consequences of misuse. Any alleged misuse of cannabis that jeopardizes the safety and operational effectiveness of the CAF, including reporting to duty impaired or being unable to safely and effectively perform duties due to consumption of any intoxicants, will be investigated and dealt with through the most appropriate administrative or disciplinary action, or both, and may result in release from the CAF.

In addition to this policy, further guidance is under development and will soon be provided to civilian public servants, contractors, and employees of external organizations who work on National Defence properties to ensure safe and impairment-free work environments.

While the legalization of cannabis represents a societal and cultural shift, these rules will help ensure that CAF members are able to adequately balance service and operational effectiveness with responsible access to recreational cannabis, thus maintaining the public’s continued confidence as a professional and disciplined military force.

The importation or exportation across Canada’s national borders of any amount of cannabis, including cannabis for medical purposes, remains prohibited under Canadian law. CAF personnel should note that possession or consumption of cannabis is illegal in most countries and CAF members could be denied entry to these countries as a result of cannabis consumption or involvement in the legal cannabis industry in Canada. CAF members are responsible for obtaining information about the cannabis consumption and possession laws and policies of any country that they intend to visit.

Defence Team members are encouraged to visit the Cannabis: What you need to know Intranet page to get updates on the DND/CAF policies, while additional information can be found on the Government of Canada’s cannabis webpage.

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