With marijuana legalization just around the corner, the Department of National Defence wants to ensure the rules are clear to its more than 100,000 members.
According to an internal draft of the military’s cannabis policy, members will be banned from consuming marijuana eight hours before duty, once it’s legalized.
In some situations, both consumption and possession of cannabis would be banned, including when a military member is deployed to an international operation, except for a period of authorized leave.
Cannabis would also be banned in any vessel, vehicle and aircraft under the military’s authority.
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The rules will be more strict for some members. A 24-hour ban will be imposed for members operating or handling loaded firearms or explosives, performing emergency response duty, and loading or maintaining military aircraft.
One of the toughest restrictions is a cannabis ban of 28 days to members serving on Canadian submarines, crew members in military aircraft, and drone operators.
Recent polling indicates Canadian employers are concerned legalized cannabis could undermine workplace safety, and fearful more staff will use cannabis while on the job.
The RCMP didn’t respond to our inquiry about its plans for a cannabis policy for members.
But Ontario’s Medreleaf, a licensed cannabis producer, says many large employers are establishing marijuana policies ahead of Oct. 17’s legalization date.
The DND documents suggest a wider range of restrictions than the military imposes on alcohol use. But enforcement remains unclear.
Military officials have suggested they don’t want to see their members serving Canada while stoned. But they’ve also said Canadians should not expect big changes to the current system of random drug testing.