JBER Staff Judge Advocate news release
11/7/2014 - JOINT BASE ELMENDORF-RICHARDSON, Alaska -- In
this week's election, Alaska residents voted to pass Ballot Measure 2,
which allows civilians in Alaska age 21 and older to use and possess up
to one ounce of marijuana and up to six marijuana plants. This measure
must be acted upon and passed by the legislature before it will go into
effect, so there is no known date of implementation.
However, though Alaska has voted to legalize marijuana, and regardless
of the implementation date, the federal government and the military have
not legalized the substance in any way. Service members are still
subject to the Department of Defense zero-tolerance drug policy,
regardless of the state in which they are stationed.
Drug testing programs will continue to screen for all drugs, including
marijuana and spice, and the military will still prosecute for the same.
"The bottom line is that service members living in Alaska are still
subject to the Uniform Code of Military Justice, Article 112a, which
prohibits not just the use of marijuana, but also the possession,
distribution and manufacture of the drug," said Air Force Capt. Dayle
Morell, chief of Military Justice at the 673d Air Base Wing Legal
Office. "Additionally, marijuana and spice are still prohibited
substances in federal law, and not permitted on base or in base housing
with service members or their sponsored dependents and guests.
Furthermore, troops who have civilian dependents, roommates or friends
who are not subject to the UCMJ should remember that 'possession is
nine-tenths of the law' - shared living spaces and vehicles could
subject service members to further discipline. The onus is on the troops
to ensure they are not putting themselves in a potentially illegal
Recently, several service members stationed at Joint Base
Elmendorf-Richardson were convicted of illegal drug use. This summer,
two service members were convicted at a special court martial for use of
cocaine on multiple occasions. Both were sentenced to, among other
things, discharge from the service with a bad conduct discharge.
Simply put, use, possession, manufacture and distribution of marijuana
or any other illegal or non-prescribed drug, on or off duty, is still
illegal for all service members.
Civilian employees are not subject to the Uniform Code of Military
Justice. However, the possibility of a court martial is not the only
side-effect of illegal drug use.
Federal workplaces remain committed to maintaining a drug-free
environment and the Civilian Drug Demand Reduction Program will continue
to test for marijuana use, because it is still illegal federally.
Drug use, even if legal under state law, may have employment and/or
disciplinary consequences for the civilian workforce. Those in positions
designated for random testing are subject to random drug testing and
may also be tested upon reasonable suspicion of drug use, on or off
Reasonable suspicion is a specific and fact-based belief that an
employee has engaged in illicit drug use, and that evidence of illicit
drug use is presently in the employee's body, drawn from specific and
particularized facts, and reasonable inferences from those facts.
Consequences of a positive test vary, but may mean an immediate
reassignment and security clearance adjudication, which could result in
revocation of an employee's security clearance. Employees in a
non-testing designated position may also be tested upon reasonable
suspicion of drug use on duty, or drug impairment on duty, and will be
tested if they apply for a testing-designated position and receive a
tentative job offer.
The bottom line, even for civilians, is that marijuana remains a
federally controlled substance, and drug use may have negative
employment consequences for all members of the Department of Defense