CAF weighs in on policies surrounding marijuana use

With the talk of Bill C-45 (legalization of marijuana), there have been some concerns floating around about how this will affect the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) and its servicemen and women.

Lt.-Gen Chuck Lamarre, Commander, Military Personnel Command, said the first concern they’ve faced is educating people on what it is they plan on doing when Bill C-45 is passed.

“A lot of folks, because of their own understanding or lack of understanding, all of a sudden think this product gets decriminalized that everything is going to go and fall apart. Reality is, it’s not,” said Lt.-Gen Lamarre.

First and foremost, the CAF must protect operational readiness because they could be called upon at a moment’s notice, anytime, day or night. Next is to protect the safety of CAF members.

“The third piece, kind of ties into the first one, is to make sure we have men and women who are ready to operate fast-moving, heavy machinery, aircrafts, ships, those types of things, and at the same time, be prepared to fight,” said Lt.-Gen Lamarre. “Ultimately, not only do we do operations at the far end of the world, but we also have responsibility back here in Canada.”

Lt.-Gen Lamarre said the CAF already has a good system in place for governing other substances, like alcohol, and will continue to govern the use of marijuana in the same way.

“For example, you can’t show up and bring beer to your office and start drinking beer throughout the day. You can’t do that. You can’t show up (to work) drunk,” Lt.-Gen Lamarre added.

With alcohol use, Lt.-Gen Lamarre said there are certain time restrictions placed on the use of alcohol. These time restrictions are set in place, so an individual won’t show up to work intoxicated and will be ready at a moment’s notice while they are at work. Lt.-Gen Lamarre said the same rule would apply to the use of marijuana.

“We say the same thing for marijuana. Just like you can’t show up drunk, you can’t show up high,” he added.

The CAF has been putting in a lot of research into the policy development and group consultation, so everyone understands marijuana is just another substance to be mindful of, like alcohol.

“We want to make sure the operational readiness of the Canadian Armed Forces and wellbeing of its members are what’s first and foremost on our minds when we deal with this new policy,” said Lt.-Gen Lamarre.


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Miranda Brumwell

Miranda attended Niagara College in 2014, completing the two-year Journalism program. She currently resides in London, ON with her boyfriend and baby boy. In her spare time, Miranda enjoys reading, cooking, photography, watercolour painting and spending time with family and friends.

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