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U.S. Air Force to Allow Applicants to Retest After Positive THC Test

Up until now, applicants to the U.S. Air Force who were positive for THC had been automatically expelled from service. Sometimes, even if they had consumed cannabis months before.

A recent announcement by the U.S. Air Force states that it will create a pilot program for two years to allow applicants to get a second chance in case they are positive for THC.

“The Department of the Air Force has established a two-year pilot program that allows a retest for applicants who test positive for tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) during the accession physical examination at the Military Entrance Processing Station,” the announcement reads.

The Pentagon bans recruits from consuming cannabis products—including CBD products—but it’s up to the individual services to set their own policies on how to handle recruits who test positive.

“The pilot program is in accordance with existing DoD policy and builds upon lessons learned from the Army and Navy who have already fielded similar pilot programs. A negative THC test result would have meant that you were barred from entering the DAF permanently. Some applicants may be granted waivers to allow them to take a second test after completing the pilot program. If those who have been granted a waiver pass a second test, candidates will be allowed to enlist.”

If applicants meet the requirements, they are eligible for waiver. THC waiver applicants are subjected to several levels of scrutiny before they can be determined eligible.

Only waiver applicants who score 50 on the Armed Forces Qualification Test and have not committed any moral or Cat 1 violations will be accepted. They must also possess a high school diploma (Tier 1 no alternative credentials) and otherwise qualify for military service.

These rules will apply to all incoming recruits of the United States Air Force and U.S. Space Force as well as the Air Force Reserve and Air National Guard. The Uniform Code of Military Justice, DAF policy that prohibits drugs use and the waiver program will apply to all individuals who enter it.

This policy will be in effect immediately. The pilot program will continue to exist for two more years. Two years later, the data collected will be analyzed and used to evaluate whether a permanent change in DAF recruitment or accessions policy is possible.

“If applicants test positive for THC when they go to the MEPS, they’re permanently barred from entering the Air Force or the Space Force,” Maj. Gen. Ed Thomas told Air Force Times. “But as more states legalize cannabis, there is an increased prevalence of THC-positive applicants.” reports that in 2017, the U.S. Air Force increased its ranks and issued more medical waivers to prospective recruits who used cannabis for medical purposes.

Similar actions are being taken by other branches.

The Navy’s pilot program for two years was launched last April. It allows qualified applicants to receive a waiver if they test positive at MEPS. After a waiting period of 90 days, the waiver will allow them to enter boot camp. The program will continue until April 2023. A waiver to allow an individual to return to Recruit Training Command or basic training if a recruit tests positive for THC has been issued.

In the case that a soldier tests positive at MEPS for THC, the Army enforces a 90 day waiting period. These soldiers may also request a waiver in order to be allowed to join the military. If a recruit is found to be positive on their second drug test, they will not be allowed to join the service. PermanentYou are not allowed to join the Army.