Naval Cadets Expelled Over Synthetic Marijuana Use

Naval Cadets Expelled Over Synthetic Marijuana Use

Desperate for a temporary reprieve from the mind-twisting rigors of military officer’s training, a growing number of cadets are getting high on a synthetic form of marijuana at the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Md.. Many claim they partake in it because synthetic marijuana cannot be detected in routine drug tests, according to several former midshipmen who have been removed from campus for using or possessing the substance.

Synthetic marijuana is an herbal potpourri sprayed with chemicals that, when smoked, produces mood-altering effects. It is illegal in at least 12 states, although not in Maryland, and is prohibited in the U.S. military, including at its service academies.

“The Naval Academy continues to actively investigate suspected illicit drug use,” Vice Adm. Michael H. Miller, superintendent of the academy, told the Washington Post. The academy “has been and will continue to be transparent in disclosing the results of this ongoing investigation. If and when there is sufficient evidence and testimony of alleged drug use by additional midshipmen, they will be processed for separation.”

The Navy’s Atlantic and Pacific fleets disciplined 113 sailors for use or possession of synthetic marijuana in the fiscal year that ended Sept. 30, the Post reports. At least 180 sailors have faced allegations of using it since, according to Lt. Alana Garas. Synthetic marijuana busts netted 28 sailors at the Naval Air Station in Pensacola, Fla., and 15 crew members on the aircraft carrier George Washington in 2009 and 16 sailors on the amphibious assault ship Bataan this month.

Comparatively, the Air Force disciplined 260 of its personnel over allegations involving synthetic marijuana in 2010. Five cadets have been separated from the Air Force Academy in Colorado, and about 28 others remain under investigation for spice use, officials said.

West Point has not expelled any cadets over synthetic marijuana.

“It’s not what the brigade stands for as a group, as a service,” said Sean Fitzmaurice, 23, a senior from Hingham, Mass., who serves as brigade commander. “We hold ourselves, and we are held, to a much higher standard here at the academy.”

terry shropshire

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