The Challenges of Drug Testing in the Military

Anyone who has served in the military understands that random drug testing will be a part of their routine. What many military members may not know is that more and more health food products are being made with hemp seeds and hemp oil.

According to information released by the Air Force Surgeon General, among the products that contain hemp and might cause a military member to test positive for the metabolite of marijuana ,Tetrahydrocannabinol or “THC”, are certain flavors of greek yogurt made by Chobani and some types of Kind fruit and nut bars. One of the challenges presented by the growing use of hemp as a source of protein in organic and other health food products is that it is possible for these products to cause a military member to test positive for THC on a urinalysis screening. The military drug testing process cannot distinguish between the innocent ingestion of these products and the illegal recreational use of marijuana.

The Department of Defense has issued guidance reminding military members that they are prohibited from using or consuming hemp products. Despite the warnings and guidance put out by the military, the increased availability of food products containing hemp may lead to more and more military members testing positive for THC. Many will test positive without even realizing that they ingested a product containing hemp.

Just as workout supplements (like Jack3d, which contained DMAA [Dimethylamylamine] a synthetic methamphetamine) were sold at GNC stores on military bases world-wide that could result in positive drug tests, it is possible that items purchased in military commissaries will contain hemp and might lead to a positive urinalysis test. This is nothing new for the military. In the 1990’s, a legal product called “Health Inca Tea” made from cocoa leafs caused military to test positive for cocaine and in 2006 Red Bull was pulled from shelves in several European countries because testing revealed that it contained trace levels of cocaine. These products and others have the potential to end a military member’s career if they test positive for an illegal drug regardless of how they ingested it because military law allows commanders and courts-martial panels to presume that a use was intentional and illegal.

Military members and their families should be reading the ingredients of all the food they purchase carefully and be wary of the potentially career ending consequences of consuming hemp containing products.

If you or a military member you know tests positive for THC, or other illicit substances, they will be processed for separation from the military and if they are an officer or senior NCO they may face criminal prosecution and trial by court-martial.

The best chance to save your military career if you test positive for THC or any other illegal drug, is to work with an experienced military defense lawyer like the attorneys at Crisp and Associates Military Law. Our attorneys have helped dozens of military members obtain acquittals at trial and retention at discharge boards. Our attorneys have over 30 years of combined experience working with forensic testing and are intimately familiar with the military drug testing labs. While no case is the same, our attorneys have successfully defended military members wrongfully accused of using marijuana, cocaine, methamphetamine and ecstasy. If you are facing the possibility of a positive urinalysis ending your military career, consider contacting Crisp and Associates Military Law today.