New Air Force Policy on the use of CBDs (cannabinoids)

New Air Force Policy on the use of CBDs (cannabinoids)

Last week the Air Force published a new policy regarding the use of CBD products. The policy was in the wake of US v. Pugh.

The Pugh case dealt with AFI 90-507 (Drug Demand Reduction Program). That regulation contains a prohibition on using hemp products. The thought process is that some hemp products may contain THC. Major Pugh was an officer convicted under Article 92, UCMJ for using a hemp based product called Strong & KIND bars. At trial, he argued that the AFI was not a lawful order because it was overly broad and did not have a valid military purpose. Ultimately, the military jury convicted him and imposed a dismissal from service. Prior to sentencing, the defense filed motions related to the lawfulness of the AFI. The military judge reserved the ruling and let the sentencing continue. But he ultimately ruled that the order was unlawful and dismissed the charges. The government appealed.

Bottom line, the Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces ultimately concluded that "AFI 90-507 is an insufficient basis to support a charge of dereliction when it applies to legal, FDA-approved food products."

Following that decision, the Office of the Judge Advocate General concluded that US v. Pugh is not applicable to CBD products. In other words, Air Force members can be prosecuted under Article 92, UCMJ for using CBD products. The analysis is that CBD products are poorly regulated and can trigger a positive drug test for THC. CBD products are only permissible when an Airman has a valid prescription for Epidiolex.