Gay and Marijuana in the Military: Same difference?

Is marijuana the next DADT?  The increasing (state) legality of the otherwise (federally) illegal drug indicates a growing trend of “normalizing” marijuana usage, and it is not going unnoticed by the military.

An official Air Force news release at Schriever Air Force Base, Colorado, notes marijuana is “not welcome here,” despite its sometimes legality in the surrounding state.

Schriever commander Colonel Wayne Montheith wrote a memo noting, among other points,

Marijuana, prescribed or otherwise obtained, may not be used, possessed, distributed, nor introduced on Schriever AFB, a Federal military [installation].

The presence of marijuana on Schriever AFB [is] a risk to good order and discipline and to the Air Force mission.

The policy applies to any person on Schriever, including civilians — who could be banned from the base for bringing even state-approved marijuana with them.

In a similar vein to the federalist treatment of homosexual marriage, several states have legalized “medicinal” marijuana, even while federal law prohibits it.  (California recently rejected — by a small margin — a law to legalize marijuana outright.)  Like the claim homosexuality is a “private” matter, some claim marijuana use is no worse than alcohol, and thus irrelevant to the military mission.

So long as a troop isn’t high or drunk on duty, is what they do at home “nobody’s business?”  Surveys indicate in the last 15 years the percentage of Americans supporting legalization has nearly doubled to an almost even split with the opposition.  The current Administration (while opposing California’s legalization measure) has declined to enforce federal law against state-authorized “medicinal” marijuana use.  With growing acceptance and “evidence” of the benign nature of marijuana, why should the military continue to enforce an antiquated policy based only on moral/religious underpinnings?

For now, military members are still prohibited by the UCMJ from using marijuana as a controlled substance, and civilians cannot bring it onto military installations.  That may yet change.

After all, it will likely only be a matter of time before organizations begin advocating for the rights of marijuana users who want to serve their country openly, rather than hide their (legal) drug use.  They will passionately plea that for the “integrity” of the troops, marijuana use must be permitted in the military, so American military servicemembers are not forced to “live a lie.”  Reports will be “leaked” saying there is little risk to the military’s mission effectiveness from marijuana use.  Some may demand the military institute “Don’t Ask, Don’t Pee,” to prevent “legal” users of marijuana from being caught in urinalysis and discharged.

They will note American troops have been working, fighting, and dying alongside marijuana users all along.  Marijuana users will have served nobly, even winning accolades.  Lists will show the vital skills lost to the ongoing wars — linguists, intel analysts, and more — which impact “national security” because of the otherwise legal use of marijuana.  (Currently, drug offenses of all kinds account for more than 6 times as many discharges as homosexuality.)

They’ll note that when the bullets start flying, troops don’t care that their wingman smoked marijuana — “so long as he doesn’t fly high, he should be able to Aim High.”  Anonymous users will note their lifelong desire to serve their country, and how they now “proudly serve a nation that isn’t proud of them.”  Critics may even claim America is denying its self-sacrificing combat veterans a key aid in the fight against PTSD and suicide.

With all that “evidence,” what sustainable argument — what moral argument — is there against legalizing marijuana?

At best, those who oppose legalizing the drug will be greeted with a collective clucking and a condescending view of their “old fashioned” values.  More likely, they will be called “bigots” for their “intolerance” of those who just want to serve their country and occasionally smoke a joint.

Again, what is the moral basis for the law on marijuana?  Well, in just a few years, people will

look back on this debate with the same sentiment as any other civil rights debate in history; with awe. How did we deny marijuana-using Americans so many fundamental rights in the year 2010? Relax right wing America…the demographics of this nation will soon change so dramatically that you will have no choice but to tolerate rather than hate.

The increasingly popular answer to the moral basis for laws and military policies?

Demographics.  Ever-changing surveys and sentiment dictate “right” and “wrong.”


  • Under federal law, it is illegal to possess marijuana. Under no law is it illegal to be a gay person.
    So.. no. Not “same difference” at all. But keep trying. One day you bigots will find an analogy that is NOT utterly retarded.

  • Because of a lie in late 1937, marijuana became illegal at the federal level. In the 70s, in the literature racks in the back of some church’s was a lurid pamphlet about the evils of marijuana — containing reefer madness propaganda about how it caused insanity and murder.

    Big money for the dealers & our protectors, it is the most widely used illicit drug and we all know that marijuana affects memory, thought, concentration, sensory and time perception, and coordination; similar to alcohol but there are probably more dangers to the body “smoking” marijuana.

    Gay and Marijuana in the Military: Same difference? NO! – totally different sentiments and demographics.

    Moral basis for this law? Responsibility (another can of worms too)

  • Donalbain,
    Laws banning homosexual conduct did exist, just as laws banning marijuana currently exist. To only say “one’s illegal, the others not” is a pretty weak position. Would you have defended segregation simply because it was the law? Supporters for marijuana would say your statement demonstrates an unjustified prejudice against marijuana users based purely on “discriminatory” laws for which there is no basis, instead of support for the rights of others.

    This isn’t an analogy (a comparison of two similar things). It is an extension of logic — logic which you failed to refute. Even watchtower disagreed based on sentiment, not a definable or defensible “moral” position.

  • No. I would not defend segregation whether based on race or sexuality. I leave that to bigots like you. But again, being black was not illegal either. I have no real position on the legal status of marijuana, but while it is a federal crime, it makes sense that a federal body such as the army would not allow its use. If however it be American legal, I would expect that it would be treated the same way as other legal drugs such as alcohol and tobacco.

    In the meantime your analogy, and yes, it is an analogy, is stupid and rather desperate. But I expect no different from bigots.

  • What makes you think anyone here is a “bigot?” Perhaps a better question: What makes you think you are not a “bigot?”

  • I am not a bigot because I do not believe that they should be denied rights for a trait that harms nobody and that they did not choose.

  • Marijuana use isn’t genetic.

  • Another thought: The current restriction on alcohol is that you can’t use it within eight hours of going on duty. Why *not* do something similar for marijuana use?

  • Don,

    Does rampant promiscuity harm people?

  • Interesting article:,9171,838231-1,00.html

    Highlight — Most physicians agree that the only physical effect of marijuana smoking is temporary impairment of visual and muscular coordination. As for mental effects, a few psychiatrists regard marijuana as a mild hallucinogen or mild psychedelic, but they are virtually unanimous in insisting that they have never seen a severe illness (psychosis) brought on by marijuana. Like their fathers and mothers, who learned to hold their liquor in college, today’s youngsters have to learn how, when, where and why to use how much marijuana.

    As ridiculous as this sounds I doubt the gov will legalize pot because there is so much invested in its uses:

    * Politicians wanting to appear tough on crime and passing tougher penalties
    * Constant increases in spending on law enforcement and prisons
    * Racist application of drug laws
    * Taxpayer funded propaganda
    * Stifling of opposition speech
    * Political contributions from corporations that profit from marijuana being illegal (pharmaceuticals, alcohol, etc.)

  • Dealer, no. Promiscuity does not necessarily harm anyone and in any case, promiscuity is not a reason for people being thrown out of the military, so another failed analogy.

  • Don,

    I never said that promiscuity was a reason to kick people out of the military; but if you can’t see that promiscuity is harmful both directly and indirectly (albeit in varying degrees), then you’re either blind or suffer from selective research. Until you open up, talking to you will be like talking to the rocks in my backyard.

  • Promiscuity can be harmful. Like any other leisure activity. But, as with other leisure activities, there are practical steps one can take to massively reduce the dangers of that harm. One does not ride a motorcycle with out a helmet, one should not have sex without a condom. But, considering that we are in a discussion about what the military will allow, and will not allow, your comment about promiscuity (a subject brought up by nobody but you) is strange, and is another stupid analogy.

  • Don,

    You said that homosexuality is a trait that harms no one. To challenge that statement, I asked you if promiscuity was harmful, to which you said no, it wasn’t. Now you are retracting that previous statement, and saying that promiscuity can be harmful.

    I submit that homosexuality is harmful, in many ways that promiscuity is harmful, although not all. You mention physical dangers in your last post, but there are many more emotional dangers that are never discussed.

    You don’t want to discriminate against a person who has a trait that harms no one and wasn’t a choice. Neither do I, but I disagree on homosexuality’s harm and some on the choice. In my experience I knew a young woman who wanted a boyfriend and could not get one and then found acceptance in the arms of another woman. I know that not every homosexual person was like this one, but for this one, it was a choice.

    I’m assuming that you think homosexuality and promiscuity are categorically different. I maintain that generally speaking, the core family is a man and a woman, joined by marriage, and any children they have or adopt. That’s not to say I don’t like extended, blended or partial families; but that is what I consider the best family (with the caveat that people shouldn’t suffer abuse just to stay in the family). Therefore, both homosexuality and promiscuity are both short of that goal and in that way, they are similar.

  • Please. Dont lie. I know that can be hard for bigots, but TRY. I said it was not necessarily harmful. And it is not. Just like playing football is not necessarily harmful, but carries certain risks.

    And yes, promiscuity and homosexuality ARE categorically different. You can be straight and promiscious, and you can be homosexual and monogamous. As for your friend, it sounds as if she is bisexual. And as for the “best family”, I can’t help but notice the staggering lack oif evidence you present to defend that claim. Just as I notice your staggering lack of evidence for pretty much any of the claims regarding homosexuals in the military being harmful.

  • Donalbain,

    Save the namecalling for the gradeschool playground. Feel free to disagree, but do so respectfully, or find yourself another website.