Is Legal Marijuana Legal for Military Members?

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Military member talking to his attorney about marijuana use.

Colorado continues to progress with the passing of state recreational marijuana use laws. In Colorado, anyone over the age of 21 can legally purchase recreational marijuana no matter its form – or their purpose for doing so. However, if you do not understand how state, federal, and military laws work, you could easily find yourself in trouble.

Colorado state laws are not superior to federal laws or the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ), the laws, which govern our service members. 

Recreational Marijuana and the Military

Although military service members must follow state, federal, and military law, they must always abide by the most restrictive of the three laws when they say different things. So although it is perfectly legal for any other Colorado resident or visitor to engage in recreational marijuana use, the military strictly forbids it. 

The UCMJ prohibits service members from purchasing, possessing, or consuming any of the substances that they list; this includes marijuana. Therefore because the UCMJ law is more restrictive than the state law, it must be the one followed. 

Facing Charges: State, Federal, or Military Law

The military subjects its members to random drug testing and will allot consequences for anyone who is in violation of its policies. If a service member legally purchases marijuana in the state of Colorado (following state guidelines), you will not face any state charges. Furthermore, unless you possessed or consumed it on your post, it’s also unlikely that you will face federal charges – unless you are on base, which is considered federal land and private property. (It is also important to note that even civilians visiting a military base can face federal charges too.)

But unlike state and federal law, since military members are required to follow the UCMJ, they could be in trouble for merely entering a marijuana store. This not only applies to when you are on duty, but also when you are off duty or on leave. So long as you are a member of the U.S. military, you must follow the UCMJ.

The Court-Martial Law Division of Aviso Law LLC Helps Military Members in Colorado Who Have Been Charged with a Crime

The U.S. Government has an interest in obtaining a conviction as soon as possible, as it does not wish to gain negative publicity about one of its service members. That is why it is so important to consult with a knowledgeable and experienced military attorney as soon as possible.If you are a military service member and have been charged with a crime under the UCMJ, the Court-Martial Law Division of Aviso Law LLC can help. We proudly serve our military members, who sacrifice so much for our country. To learn more or to schedule a free consultation, contact us today!

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