Florida Republicans have sought to implement various amendments to the Fiscal Year 2024 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). Among them is Representative Matt Gaetz (R-FL), who has suggested cannabis testing should be eliminated from military recruitment.
The New York Times reported the number of positive cannabis use tests among recruits increased by 33 percent in 2022 compared to 2020, many of whom come from states where recreational and medical marijuana usage is legal.
On Twitter, Rep. Gaetz stated the current recruiting crisis means stringent drug tests should be relaxed. Moreover, the military should "embrace [users] for stepping up to serve the country."
"Our military is facing a recruitment and retainment crisis unlike any other time in American history. I do not believe that prior use of cannabis should exclude Americans from enlisting in the armed forces. We should embrace them for stepping up to serve our country," said Rep. Gaetz.
Our military is facing a recruitment and retainment crisis unlike any other time in American history.
I do not believe that prior use of cannabis should exclude Americans from enlisting in the armed forces.
We should embrace them for stepping up to serve our country. https://t.co/5K2G8hGwO5
— Rep. Matt Gaetz (@RepMattGaetz) July 5, 2023
Gaetz's proposed amendment comes hot on the heels of Governor Ron DeSantis's (R-FL) ban on medical marijuana use in sober living facilities, even if authorized by a physician.
On the other hand, Representative Brian Mast (R-FL) introduced legislation in April that would allow marijuana users to purchase firearms, citing the usage of cannabis among veterans for medicinal purposes as a motivating factor behind the bill.
"No veteran that I know wants to be forced to choose between a viable treatment option for conditions like PTSD, and the ability to protect themselves and their families," said Rep. Mast.
Additionally, Politico reported Rep. Mast introduced another cannabis-related bill to the NDAA, which allows Veterans Affairs doctors to suggest medical marijuana as a treatment option for patients in legal states.
In addition to Gaetz and Mast, other Florida Republicans have introduced various amendments to the NDAA. Representative Vern Buchanan (R-FL) introduced three bills on the treatment of drug overdoses, the immediate restoration of veterans' benefits after returning to active duty, and training reforms.
Meanwhile, Representative Greg Steube (R-FL) introduced a whopping thirteen amendments including reintegration of soldiers who refused the COVID-19 vaccine with backpay, anti-Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion reforms, and transparency on funding Ukraine's war effort against Russia.