Military Spouses and Marijuana

After a few states recently legalized marijuana, a local paper’s article on the military and marijuana, repeated at the Stars and Stripes, raises the question of how the military will treat the active duty spouses of civilian marijuana dealers. The active duty member would be married to, federally speaking, an illegal drug dealer — though the federal government has declined to pursue such charges when the states have legalized it.  (The Air Force Academy recently reminded Airmen and cadets that marijuana was still illegal for them.)

The state law [legalizing marijuana] is in direct conflict with federal law and the Uniform Code of Military Justice, which criminalize possession and distribution of pot. A service member who is found carrying drugs, or tests positive for them, may face administrative separation or worse. Security clearances can also be jeopardized.

How the military will view a service member whose spouse is, by federal standards, a drug dealer, remains to be seen.

The outcome is predictable, if history is any guide. Many may simply claim servicemembers should not be punished for who they love. Ipso facto, federal law/military policy must accommodate them.

The enforcement of a consistent moral standard is by far the most efficient means of achieving consistent moral conduct.  Conversely, providing confusing guidance on moral standards undermines the ability to consistently demand moral conduct — even when moral conduct is critical.

For the Christian, inspiration comes from Peter’s exhortation to always live above reproach — to aspire to the higher moral standard:

Keep your conduct among the Gentiles honorable, so that when they speak against you as evildoers, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day of visitation.
1 Peter 2:12

Given very public allegations of recent moral lapses in the military, it would seem that even in this challenging ethical landscape moral conduct is an issue of some importance right now.