Marijuana use no longer barrier to joining Air Force

The Air Force on Jan. 9, announced new policies that loosen restrictions on recruits regarding tattoos and medical screenings that include marijuana use.

Effective Feb. 1, the military branch will no longer enforce its 25 percent tattoo rule, which banned tattoos on the chest, back, arms and legs from taking up more than 25 percent of the body part.

And while previously many recruits entering the Air Force were disqualified for marijuana use, the new policy will remove the numerical limitations on prior use of marijuana.

“We are always looking at our policies and, when appropriate, adjusting them to ensure a broad scope of individuals are eligible to serve,” Chief Master Sgt. of the Air Force James A. Cody, said in a news release, adding, “These changes allow the Air Force to aggressively recruit talented and capable Americans who until now might not have been able to serve our country in uniform.”

The Air Force, as part of its effort to streamline and standardize waiver processes, also loosened its medical restrictions on recruits with eczema, ADHD and asthma.

The changes are a result or a review of Air Force accessions policies directed by Air Force Secretary Deborah Lee James in 2016.

“As a next step in this evolution, we are opening the aperture on certain medical accession criteria and tattoos while taking into account our needs for worldwide deployability and our commitment to the profession of arms," James said in the release.

Reader comments

Fri, Jan 13, 2017

Disgusting military standards started on a slow decline during mid 80s (IMO). Order, Honor and long-held traditions are discussed in feel-good sessions during "circle"...sure glad I retired before the fast decent into "just like everything else." MSGT (retired)

Fri, Jan 13, 2017

Another constructive addition to the Obama legacy

Wed, Jan 11, 2017

what about bariatric surgery? Is that still a disqualifying factor?

Wed, Jan 11, 2017 Los Angeles, CA

Is reducing the recruiting standards the way to get the best? If these new recruits do not have self-discipline, how are they going to take orders from superiors they do not like? This seems to be reducing the talent and pride of America's armed services. Are they any better character than the enemy?

Wed, Jan 11, 2017

Way to go ! Thats the way it is here in Alaska.

Show All Comments

Please post your comments here. Comments are moderated, so they may not appear immediately after submitting. We will not post comments that we consider abusive or off-topic.

Please type the letters/numbers you see above


Edward A. Zurndorfer Certified Financial Planner
Mike Causey Columnist
Tom Fox VP for Leadership and Innovation, Partnership for Public Service
Mathew B. Tully Legal Analyst

Free E-Newsletter


I agree to this site's Privacy Policy.

Stay Connected

Latest Forum Posts

Ask the Expert

Have a question regarding your federal employee benefits or retirement?

Submit a question