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Legal Cannabis Use in the CAF

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Eye In The Sky

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SeaKingTacco said:
I asked a senior member of the Royal Netherland Air Force recently what their marijuana policy is (pot is legal for consumption in the Netherlands).

Even though legal, consumption of pot is grounds for immediate release from the RNLAF. They consider it incompatible with military aviation.

Take that any way you want....

I am hopeful the RCAF considers it to be the same, honestly.
 

Stoker

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[size=24pt][size=14pt]Canadian military researching how to prevent soldiers from being stoned on the job once pot is legal
Senior commander is prepared to recommend 'control measures' for legalized marijuana
[/size][/size]


http://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/stoned-soldiers-military-legalized-marijuana-1.4473638

Ensuring its soldiers, sailors and aircrew are not the slightest bit stoned as they go out the door to war or other hazards is the subject of intense study and debate as the Canadian military looks ahead to this year's expected legalization of marijuana.
The army, navy, air force and special forces are not your average workplaces, and the senior commander in charge of military personnel says he won't hesitate to recommend restrictions and screening should the need arise.
"We're concerned about how folks will be able to do their job," Lt.-Gen. Chuck Lamarre told CBC News.
"And we are concerned about folks who have the challenges of operating heavy equipment, weaponry, who are on call on a regular basis to go and do things, like our [search and rescue] technicians."

Consider workplace safety, business groups say

The Liberal government's legislation to legalize and regulate recreational use of marijuana is before the Senate. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, in an interview before Christmas, said it would be "next summer" before it becomes law.
Workplace safety has figured in some aspects of the pot debate, but Lamarre said the potential for increased use and acceptance among the general population brings with it pressing national security concerns.

Dangerous environments

"We have to be able to protect the Canadian Armed Forces' ability to be able to send men and and women — at a moment's notice — to operate in some very, very dangerous and demanding environments," he said.
Since last spring, a team of military policy experts, including medical, legal and officers on operational duty, has been examining the implications of the legislation and what policies might have to change.
Chuck Lamarre
Lamarre, who oversaw Joint Task Force Afghanistan in 2011, is the Canadian Armed Forces chief of military personnel. He says he is prepared to 'recommend or propose control measures' for marijuana that are based on scientific research. (Murray Brewster/CBC)
Lamarre said it's too soon to know if there will be limits on marijuana use, but he is prepared to "recommend or propose control measures" as long as there's scientific research to back them up.
Employers in the civilian world can prohibit drug and alcohol use in the workplace, with some exceptions for medical marijuana patients.
The military has limited and even banned the consumption of alcohol in specific circumstances, notably in Afghanistan.

'Safety-sensitive' positions


There is a long-established drug testing policy for "safety-sensitive" positions and — as recently has five years ago — National Defence faced an intense internal lobbying campaign from senior commanders who wanted to see the list of jobs subject to screening drastically expanded.
That push failed, and Lamarre noted that, from the point of view of legal rights, the military has to be "very careful how we apply" randomized testing.

    'Do you want some bozo driving a tank to be strung out? No.'
    — Stuart Hendin, lawyer and military  instructor

However, an expert in military and constitutional law said defence officials should not be timid in controlling marijuana use.
Not only would the law be on the side of restrictions and precautions, but so would the public.
"Do you want some bozo driving a tank to be strung out? No," said Stuart Hendin, a lawyer and instructor at the Royal Military College and Canadian Forces College.
"I think the public expects the military, like the police, will be held to a higher standard." The concept that they lead a different life should be drilled into the expectations of those serving, as should the idea of marijuana restrictions and random drug tests.
"The military's function is the management of extreme violence. If you bear that in mind, then the increased restrictions should not be offensive to the community at large," said Hendin.
Lamarre, however, said the military will have to rely on more than just a moral argument.

Defining impairment

He has ordered up a trove of health research, specifically on "what the impact of marijuana can be on the developing brain," said Lamarre.
"We hire the 18-to-25 age group. We want to be aware of what the impact might be on the well-being of those folks who might be consuming this product."
On the legal side, they are looking at what constitutes impairment.
There is no government-approved technology to conduct roadside tests for marijuana impairment, and experts argue urine and blood tests are not useful because regular cannabis users can test positive days —  even weeks —  after the last use.
"How do you deal with that?" Lamarre asks. "Is there a testing technology that is coming around the corner?"
And then there is the question of how military messes, or dining halls, treat marijuana. Alcohol is sold there under licensed conditions.
Lamarre said whether marijuana would be available under similar circumstances is something they haven't even considered.
 

Humphrey Bogart

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Back in my competitive hockey days I played hockey with a guy who would smoke a joint out behind the arena before every game.  I swear, when this guy was stoned, he had the best stickhandling I've ever seen. 

I'm interested in Marijuana becoming legal solely for the reason that it will now be able to be studied in an academic/clinical setting to see long term cost-benefits of usage.
 
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angus555

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Chief Stoker said:
Defining impairment

He has ordered up a trove of health research, specifically on "what the impact of marijuana can be on the developing brain," said Lamarre.
"We hire the 18-to-25 age group. We want to be aware of what the impact might be on the well-being of those folks who might be consuming this product."
On the legal side, they are looking at what constitutes impairment.
There is no government-approved technology to conduct roadside tests for marijuana impairment, and experts argue urine and blood tests are not useful because regular cannabis users can test positive days —  even weeks —  after the last use.
"How do you deal with that?" Lamarre asks. "Is there a testing technology that is coming around the corner?"
And then there is the question of how military messes, or dining halls, treat marijuana. Alcohol is sold there under licensed conditions.
Lamarre said whether marijuana would be available under similar circumstances is something they haven't even considered.

Why wouldn't a THC saliva test be sufficient? It doesn't prove or suggest a certain level of impairment the same way BAC does for alcohol, but since many workplaces have a zero tolerance policy for alcohol (BAC above zero), couldn't the same zero tolerance rule be applied to THC via saliva test?

The THC saliva test has a detection window lasting between 4-6 hours, which covers the impairment period. Seems fair to me.

There is more difficulty for the police who have to prove impairment rather than just recent use.
http://www.rcmp-grc.gc.ca/en/gazette/finding-a-roadside-drug-test




 

PuckChaser

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The problem is defining impairment and how long you're effected by the drug. Alcohol has plenty of research to back up the 8/12 hour consumption rules, but there's not enough on pot. Another can of worms opened by rushing legislation through to buy votes.
 

Eye In The Sky

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Aircrew have a "12 hour bottle to throttle" rule;  a saliva test detection window of 4-6 hours is insufficient in that instance, IMO.

Another fuck up of this government that the military is going to have to suffer thru, this whole legal pot crap.  Another example of standards going, or possible going, to shit in the CAF and Canada.
 
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angus555

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Eye In The Sky said:
Aircrew have a "12 hour bottle to throttle" rule;  a saliva test detection window of 4-6 hours is insufficient in that instance, IMO.

A BAC test for alcohol can be insufficient after 4-6 hours too.

If somebody has BAC of 0.05 g/dL (say 3-4 drinks over an hour), which is enough to suspend their license in most places if caught driving, it would only take the average person (180lbs) about 5 hours to metabolize that alcohol to zero.

But in that case they could still be in violation of bottle to the throttle. Even the civilian 8 hour rule.

I think that if it's legal then it's fair to consume on time off. As long as it doesn't violate these kinds of rules.

But I've never heard anybody complaining about a "weed hangover" with a splitting headache the next day, even though it's possible, it's probably from gorging on junk food.
 

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But it's not just the acute phase we should be worried about. Cannabis has been shown to cause permanent neurocognitive changes in the brain. The outcome being that people make bad decisions, and they don't care that they've made them. Not exactly what we want in folks who's primary role is the controlled application of violence.
 

SeaKingTacco

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ModlrMike said:
But it's not just the acute phase we should be worried about. Cannabis has been shown to cause permanent neurocognitive changes in the brain. The outcome being that people make bad decisions, and they don't care that they've made them. Not exactly what we want in folks who's primary role is the controlled application of violence.

Posts like this provide me fresh insights into BC politics, at all levels...
 

SupersonicMax

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ModlrMike said:
But it's not just the acute phase we should be worried about. Cannabis has been shown to cause permanent neurocognitive changes in the brain. The outcome being that people make bad decisions, and they don't care that they've made them. Not exactly what we want in folks who's primary role is the controlled application of violence.

So does alcohol. 

I have never used illegal drugs and making pot legal won't make me start comsuming it but, while the initial answer may be to disallow it eventually, as we understand more the acute effects of the drug on the human body, the correct course of action will be to draft policies and orders allowing its consumption while providing guidelines on its consumption versus duty, akin to what we have for alcohol.  Like it or not, the Government decided it was okay to consume it.  It'd be hard to disallow it in the CAF when we allow alcohol without being faced with Charter violations...
 
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angus555

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ModlrMike said:
But it's not just the acute phase we should be worried about. Cannabis has been shown to cause permanent neurocognitive changes in the brain. The outcome being that people make bad decisions, and they don't care that they've made them. Not exactly what we want in folks who's primary role is the controlled application of violence.

Sure, let's hope cannabis gets the research it deserves now that its prohibition will end in this country.

If chronic cannabis use results in dangerous neurocognitive changes, then it should be put in the same category as alcohol and many prescription drugs that are currently in use that are well known to cause permanent damage.

So far given the current research, the long term negative effects of cannabis barely hold a candle to the long term damage that alcohol or many prescription drugs can cause.

:cheers:
 

observor 69

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Cannabis is being legalized in Canada for the same reasons Prohibition of alcohol in the USA in the 1920's was repealed.
Do the members of our military reflect the same  percentage of illegal cannabis usage as the Canadian population?
Are those members already using it in a manner that doesn't affect them on the job.
Being retired military I am out of date on the answers to these questions. But in the civilian world usage is going the same route as USA probation. Police in the GTA haven't got the resources to arrest and prosecute users.
 

Eye In The Sky

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Til Valhall said:
A BAC test for alcohol can be insufficient after 4-6 hours too.

If somebody has BAC of 0.05 g/dL (say 3-4 drinks over an hour), which is enough to suspend their license in most places if caught driving, it would only take the average person (180lbs) about 5 hours to metabolize that alcohol to zero.

But in that case they could still be in violation of bottle to the throttle. Even the civilian 8 hour rule.

I think that if it's legal then it's fair to consume on time off. As long as it doesn't violate these kinds of rules.

But I've never heard anybody complaining about a "weed hangover" with a splitting headache the next day, even though it's possible, it's probably from gorging on junk food.

My concern, and I am a complete amateur when it comes to the medical side, is the basic understanding (which I've never seen anything to dispute) is how the active ingredients are stored and released over time.  I can't comment on the credibility of this website, but this shows the difference in how the body uses/stores/eliminates THC over how it does alcohol.  If I drink alcohol, there is a basic *1 hour per 1 standard drink* formula for impairment/elimination of effect on the body/brain.

https://www.sensibleseeds.com/blog/how-long-does-marijuana-stay-in-the-body/

Ref the "the government says its ok" comments, are people suggesting that alone makes this the smart and/or right thing to do?  Or is this a way to tap into additional revenues, or some other motive other than "hey its ok!".

I think this is the wrong move for Canada, as a whole, not just the CAF.    Professionally, I can't imagine aircrew being allowed to smoke up 'because the Liberal government said it was ok';  I trust their judgement based on their track record the past 2 years and there is much to be desired on the judgement skills for folks like me.  Flying the way we do is dangerous enough, I don't like the idea of going up with half-baked folks.  It is like any other drug; there are valid medical uses for it and I've no issue with that.  I do have issue with it being legalized across the board and letting people who do dangerous work like we do 'do it on non duty time'.

My decision, if it is allowed for aircrew, will have to be if I will or will not continue a flying career in the RCAF when the dust settles.  Might be time to do something else if that becomes the case.
 

Altair

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I don't understand why people are acting like soldiers aren't smoking up right now.
 

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Altair said:
I don't understand why people are acting like soldiers aren't smoking up right now.

Because it's illegal right now and if found using you'll be put on administrative measures or, in the case of a second test being positive, be dismissed.

Maybe that's why.
 
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angus555

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Eye In The Sky said:
My concern, and I am a complete amateur when it comes to the medical side, is the basic understanding (which I've never seen anything to dispute) is how the active ingredients are stored and released over time.  I can't comment on the credibility of this website, but this shows the difference in how the body uses/stores/eliminates THC over how it does alcohol.  If I drink alcohol, there is a basic *1 hour per 1 standard drink* formula for impairment/elimination of effect on the body/brain.

https://www.sensibleseeds.com/blog/how-long-does-marijuana-stay-in-the-body/

Ref the "the government says its ok" comments, are people suggesting that alone makes this the smart and/or right thing to do?  Or is this a way to tap into additional revenues, or some other motive other than "hey its ok!".

I think this is the wrong move for Canada, as a whole, not just the CAF.    Professionally, I can't imagine aircrew being allowed to smoke up 'because the Liberal government said it was ok';  I trust their judgement based on their track record the past 2 years and there is much to be desired on the judgement skills for folks like me.  Flying the way we do is dangerous enough, I don't like the idea of going up with half-baked folks.  It is like any other drug; there are valid medical uses for it and I've no issue with that.  I do have issue with it being legalized across the board and letting people who do dangerous work like we do 'do it on non duty time'.

My decision, if it is allowed for aircrew, will have to be if I will or will not continue a flying career in the RCAF when the dust settles.  Might be time to do something else if that becomes the case.

From my experience with both alcohol and cannabis, I'd rather my pilot have smoked a joint yesterday instead of going on a drunken binge, while still meeting the 12 hour requirement. Professionally I'd rather them not do either.

Although I'm not aware of a study that quantifies the acute cognitive impairment over the course of hours since consumption, I don't think it would last much longer than alcohol in the amounts that most people would normally consume. The fact that THC takes a long time to excrete is because it's not water soluble. It could be weeks before it's completely eliminated, but that doesn't mean it's still having an effect. More studies are needed.

EDIT
http://pubmedcentralcanada.ca/pmcc/articles/PMC3037578/

There is definitely potential for residual effects, but it's for heavy chronic users of cannabis. I'd say the same thing goes for alcohol, though.




 

Jarnhamar

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Altair said:
No. Never much liked the stuff.

Do i know soldiers who openly talk about doing it? Hmmmm...

And when you heard them openly talking about using it illegally you just ignored it, right?
 
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