Last year, the U.S. Navy issued a notice banning all sailors and marines from using products containing CBD. This ban covered ingestible products, such as tinctures. Last week, the Navy issued another notice expanding the hemp or CBD product ban to include topicals like shampoos, lotions, conditioners, and soaps.
This Department of the Navy (“DON”) update comes shortly after Congress passed an amendment to a spending bill stipulating that serving and reserve members of the U.S. armed forces could use products containing hemp derivatives, such as CBD. However, the Senate version of this spending bill doesn’t have the amendment contained in the House version, so negotiations will determine whether this provision makes it into the text sent to President Trump’s desk for enactment.
It isn’t clear why the Navy has expanded its ban on the use of hemp products given that hemp and its derivatives were legalized by the 2018 Farm Bill. However, the different branches of the military have been concerned that there is a risk that service members could accidentally use products having more than the legally permissible levels of THC since the FDA isn’t regulating those hemp products which are currently available on the market.
Friday’s memo, which was signed by Secretary of the Navy Kenneth J. Braithwaite, mentions that sailors and marines cannot rely on the product label to be sure that a given product doesn’t have THC levels which could show up during a drug test on urine samples.
The memo adds that the service takes substance abuse seriously since it can compromise the performance, operational readiness and disciple expected of all service members. The notice also adds that the ban doesn’t include the use of FDA-approved medicines, such as Epidiolex. Marines and sailors can also use durable products made from hemp. These include clothing and rope.
The notice clearly indicates that while some of those banned products may be legally available to civilians in different states and localities, members of the U.S. Navy aren’t allowed to use them until the FDA starts actively regulating those products.
The Department of Defense, the U.S. Coast Guard, the Air Force, and even NASA (which isn’t part of the U.S. military) have all issued notices banning their members from using products containing hemp and marijuana derivatives.
If the amendment sponsored by Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI) makes it into law, the branches of the military may be compelled to reconsider their position on the use of hemp products. Otherwise, experts say firms like The Alkaline Water Company Inc. (CSE: WTER) (NASDAQ: WTER) may have grounds to think that military service members are being unfairly denied a chance to benefit from hemp ingredients which have been scientifically proven to be beneficial.
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