Cannabis questions

On Thursday Oct. 11, 4 Wing Commander Col. P. Doyle and CWO R. Nault briefed members on what the responsibilities and limitations will be for CAF members who wish to consume cannabis after its national legalization on Oct. 17, 2018. Christopher King

On Thursday Oct. 11, 4 Wing Commander Col. P. Doyle and CWO R. Nault briefed members on what the responsibilities and limitations will be for CAF members who wish to consume cannabis after its national legalization on Oct. 17, 2018.
Christopher King

CHRISTOPHER KING

As of October 17, the consumption of cannabis will be legal in Canada. While that doesn’t earn us any superlative titles as a nation, it does for the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) being the first military in the world that allows its members to consume (with limitations) cannabis.

On Thursday Oct. 11, 2018, the 4 Wing Theatre was packed and standing-room only as members from 4 Wing attended a town hall hosted by 4 Wing Commander Colonel (Col.) Paul Doyle and Wing Chief Warrant Officer (CWO) Rémi Nault.

Despite the main message being that consumption will no longer be illegal in the CAF, the restrictions for members meant the Col. had to stress one important point.

“If you misuse cannabis, you will still be responsible,” he said.

The restrictions and freedoms governing CAF member’s consumption of cannabis is outlined in a few documents, CANFORGEN 151/18, DAOD (Defence Administrative Orders and Directives) 9004-1, and CANAIRGEN 026/18.

Here are 4 Wing, members will also need to adhere to Alberta Bill 26, City of Cold Lake bylaw 627-PL-18 and the smoking bylaw 554-PL-15, as well as Canadian Forces Housing Agency (CFHA) Cannabis Use policy.

Another important point Col. Doyle stressed was “Shed the bias, and start to move forward,” he said. “Know the rules and regulations.”

He also stressed that cannabis is still illegal in most countries, namely the United States of America where many CAF members go on exercises and tours. He took an informal poll of the audience and nearly everyone raised their hands when asked who had toured in the USA in the past.

When it comes to cannabis usage and daily life, CWO Nault reminded members that there’s no excuse for drinking and driving and the same applies to cannabis consumption and driving.

The cannabis usage limitations revolve around four basic restrictions. Essentially zero tolerance for members on training, exercise, and operations, 28 days for air crew personnel, 24 hours for any vehicle operators, and eight hours for most members.

CWO Nault said to watch for members who aren’t necessarily drivers by trade, but still may drive a Department of National Defence (DND) vehicle, that the eight-hour limit does not protect them.
Likewise, Col. Doyle stressed that the eight-hour limit does not protect a member if they arrive to work still impaired.