A key House committee on Wednesday approved a large-scale defense spending bill that includes report language voicing concern about racial disparities in military drug testing practices and ordering the Pentagon to conduct a review of the issue. Unlike in past sessions, however, lawmakers did not file an amendment requiring the secretary of defense to issue regulations clarifying that military branches can grant reenlistment waivers to service members who have committed a single low-level marijuana offense. It’s not clear why Rep. Ruben Gallego (D-AZ), who has consistently championed that cannabis measure, declined to introduce it in committee, but it’s possible it could be raised as an amendment later when the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) moves to the House floor. The congressman’s office did not respond to several inquiries from Marijuana Moment. In any case, the language on drug testing from Rep. Anthony Brown (D-MD) was approved by the House Armed Services Committee as part of an en bloc package of amendments to NDAA concerning issues related to military personnel. The report provision says that lawmakers are “aware of data collected by the [Department of Defense] regarding demographics of the drug testing and evaluation programs of the Armed Forces,” and a 2020 analysis of that data reveals troubling trends.
Kyle Jaeger, Marijuana Moment, 09/02/2021 11:37:00