The Mayer Law Blog

Legal Pot is Still Illegal

Posted January 2nd, 2014 in Military Law

That headline is confusing, isn’t it?

Here’s what I mean:

1. Some states are now legalizing recreational marijuana sale and use.

2. If you are in the military, you still need to avoid state-allowed pot sales because possession, importing it to a military installation, sale, and use are still a crime in the military. States cannot overturn or supersede military law. If you are active duty, this applies at all times, regardless of your location. If you are National Guard or Reserve, it can still apply when you are on a duty status and when you take a urinalysis during drill.

Even though it is legal (and the trend to legalize continues to gain momentum), military members of any component should avoid the temptation, lest you create more business for military lawyers. It is still illegal, and all prior consequences are still applicable today (including administrative separation, nonjudicial punishment, and even court-martial).

In fact, it is conceivable that some military leaders in Colorado may choose to make an example out of those who first attempt to use a legal state purchase of marijuana as a defense. Don’t be caused to be an example for others.

Interestingly, the first legal purchase in Colorado was made by a veteran.

The first sale, orchestrated as a news media photo opportunity, was made to Sean Azzariti, an Iraq War veteran who has lobbied publicly for legalization and says pot helps mitigate problems stemming from his post-traumatic stress syndrome. Azzariti, who served six years in the Marine Corps and two tours in Iraq, spent about $60 at 3D Cannabis Center for an eighth of an ounce of “Bubba Kush” and a pot-laden truffle.

“Today I was fortunate enough to be the first recreational cannabis purchase in the world,” Azzariti tweeted. “We did it!!”

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