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Civilian employees, marijuana use after Colorado Amendment 64

PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. -- Drive down almost any major street in Colorado Springs and you are sure to see the big green cross marking yet another medical marijuana dispensary. It is expected that come January, recreational-use marijuana shops will be added to the mix.

Service members should already be well aware that the Air Force's Zero Tolerance policy continues to prohibit marijuana usage, that they are subject to the Uniform Code of Military Justice, specifically Article 112a for marijuana use, and that marijuana remains an illegal drug under federal law. In other words, usage on or off duty is illegal.

Civilians 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 Air Force Civilian Drug Demand Reduction Program will continue to test for marijuana usage, because it is still illegal federally.

Drug use, even if legal under state law, may have employment and/or disciplinary action consequences for the civilian workforce. For those in positions designated for random testing, employees are subject to random drug testing and may also be tested upon reasonable suspicion of drug use, on or off duty. 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 will 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 community.

Peterson SFB Schriever SFBCheyenne Mountain SFSThule AB New Boston SFS Kaena Point SFS Maui