KLAMATH FALLS, Ore. — Officers with the 173rd Fighter Wing stationed at Kingsley Field are warning service members to avoid CBD products, saying that they could result in positive drug tests and potential "separation from service."
While marijuana — and the active chemical, THC — has been legal in Oregon for several years and remains illegal at the federal level, cannabidiol (CBD) derives from hemp, which was recently legalized nationwide. However, CBD products can still contain varying amounts of THC.
Credit: Kingsley Field Facebook / Senior Master Sgt. Jennifer Shir
“Many of these products are now available in our local community and military members may not be aware,” said Col. Brad Orgeron, the 173rd Fighter Wing vice-commander. “CBD oils and hemp derivative products are beginning to appear in commercially available food and beverage products along with personal care products.”
A statement from the Fighter Wing leadership listed CBD lotions, bath salts, teas, vapes, candy and pet treats that are not yet regulated by the Food and Drug Administration. As a result, the THC levels in any given product are largely unknown.
“The leadership at the 173rd Fighter Wing wants to ensure all personnel know that using any derivative of the cannabinoid plant is not authorized for any federal employees or service member and could result in a positive drug test and separation from service,” continued Orgeron.
The Fighter Wing cited a 2017 study conducted by Marcel Bonn-Miller, Ph.D. The study, which examined 84 CBD products sold online, reportedly found that only 31 percent of product labels accurately reflected the CBD content and 21 percent contained THC, even when product labels advertised zero THC.
“We want to ensure we arm them with the facts so they can make informed decisions and not inadvertently jeopardize their military careers,” said Maj. Jason Gammons, a spokesperson for the Air Force Office of The Judge Advocate General.
The Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ) threatens court-martial for service members who possess or use "marijuana, and any compound or derivative of any such substance." Even a small amount of THC detected in a military drug test could result in punishment, according to the Air Force.
Orgeron said that it was "imperative to educate" members of the Oregon Air National Guard, in light of changing laws in Oregon, on the standard they agree to uphold as soldiers.
“The wing commits exhaustive resources in recruiting, training, and retaining our service members who are technically skilled and valuable to our team. We simply cannot afford to lose any Airmen to drug abuse,” said Orgeron.