Starting July 1, it will be legal in Vermont for adults 21 and over to possess up to an ounce of marijuana. But Vermont National Guard soldiers might want to think twice before taking advantage of the new law.
That's because National Guard personnel are still subject to Army regulations that forbid the use and possession of marijuana.
1st Lt. Mike Arcovitch, the Public Affairs Officer for the Vermont National Guard, said the new state law will not affect Army drug policy.
"We still have to follow the national policy," Arcovitch said. "It's really a no change for us."
In this case, that policy is the Army Substance Abuse Program, which forbids Army personnel from consuming or possessing controlled substances such as marijuana.
The Vermont National Guard administers random drug tests to enforce the policy, and every soldier is tested at least once per year.
Due to the strict nature of Army policy, Arcovitch said he does not foresee Vermont's marijuana legalization having a major effect on the National Guard in Vermont.
"It's well known that everybody gets drug tested," Arcovitch said. "I would expect that folks would still toe the line."
Act 86, as Vermont's marijuana law is officially known, allows adults 21 and over to possess up to an ounce of marijuana and cultivate two mature plants and four immature plants.
Unlike other states that have legalized marijuana, such as Colorado and Washington state, Vermont's law does not allow for commercial sale of the drug.