Cannabis Remains Illegal on APG

By Emily MyersJune 29, 2023

(Photo Credit: U.S. Army) VIEW ORIGINAL

Aberdeen Proving Ground, Md. - Recreational cannabis use including the possession of up to 1.5 ounces of cannabis by adults 21 and older becomes legal in Maryland on Saturday, July 1, 2023, but APG officials are reminding all personnel assigned to and anyone visiting APG, federal laws prohibiting cannabis use and possession will still apply.

Federal law is applicable to ALL individuals entering the installation, not just residents and employees of APG.

Brian Anderson, Attorney-Advisor from the Labor and Employment Law Division at the Army Materiel Command (AMC) Legal Center on APG explains, “APG is property of the federal government and is subject to federal law. While the State of Maryland and several other states are moving to de-criminalize marijuana, the federal government has not done so. It is still illegal per 21 U.S.C. Chapter 13, Subchapter 1- Control and Enforcement.

The use of cannabis and cannabis-related substances is prohibited by all military services, Active Duty, Reservist, National Guard, and Department of Defense (DoD) civilian employees. Maryland cannabis reform legislation does not apply to anyone inside APG’s gates, to include family members in housing areas, visitors including our veteran community, delivery drivers, contractors, and others. Military personnel and DoD civilian employees in Maryland must continue to follow the same government regulations prohibiting the use of illegal substances, which cannabis is still considered to be on a federal level.

If an Army civilian is convicted of cannabis possession, the consequences can be dire both personally and professionally.

The AMC Legal Center at APG advises, “Possession of marijuana is still punishable under federal law and possession of marijuana could result in arrest, citation, and prosecution, as well as UCMJ action for military members. Potential (professional) consequences include, but are not limited to:

1. Could result in being barred from the installation (18 U.S.C § 1382 does provide specific statutory authority to exclude and make installation regulations criminally enforceable against trespassers)

2. Could result in the suspension or revocation of security clearance under Army/DoD regulations (

3. Could result in discipline or removal from your position.”

Repeat offenders will face additional consequences that could include a ticket for a fine up to $1000 as well as time behind bars. Furthermore, second and third-time violators can receive felony charges. This carries much harsher sentencing, with possible fines up to $5,000 and one to three year’s jail time.

Detective McGinnis, APG Directorate of Emergency Services (DES), describes the process in which an officer will conduct a traffic stop on the installation if they suspect an individual is in possession and/or under the influence of cannabis.

“If an officer conducts a traffic stop and suspects impairment by cannabis, they will follow the standard operating procedures in which they were trained on. They will conduct a standardized field sobriety test and observe the individual taking the test and document any indications that might show if the driver is under the influence- if they happen to fail any portion of the test. The alcohol impairment laws already cover being impaired by cannabis. In fact, the DWI/DUI laws cover being impaired by any drug to include prescription drugs. DRE’S can be used to determine what category of drug they are impaired by (such as) stimulants, central nervous system depressants, etc.”

A Drug Recognition Expert (DRE) is a police officer specially trained in recognizing specific symptoms and behaviors that are caused by drugs. The officers take over 80 hours of classroom instruction and 100 hours of field certification training, pass several written examinations, conduct at least 15 evaluations, and have four separate drug categories confirmed by toxicology.

According to the U.S. Department of Justice a DRE can even, “Determine if the impairment is caused by alcohol, drugs, a combination of both, and a condition that may require medical attention. Urine or blood samples are analyzed for drug type.”

After the traffic stop, Detective McGinnis says DES will then, “Investigate and charge (the offender) for 21 U.S.C. 844: Simple possession of a controlled substance for which they will be issued a CVB (citation), process them, then release them. They will then receive a notification in the mail to appear in court.”

Soldiers could face dishonorable discharge, forfeiture of all pay and allowances, and confinement for two years. All branches of the military have a zero-tolerance policy on drug use and possession.

Executive Order 12564, Drug-Free Federal Workplace also mandates that federal employees are required to refrain from the use of illegal drugs on and off duty. The Army Substance Abuse Program (ASAP) at APG has made substantial updates to their program to include important facts about cannabis legalization in Maryland for federal employees and others.

APG ASAP Manager, Jason Mohilla assures the community, “We have made significant revisions to our briefing materials to address the key points of cannabis legalization in Maryland and how it impacts Soldiers, DA Civilians, residents of APG and others associated with the installation.”

In addition to training information ASAP is available to help confidentially.

Mohilla wants the entire APG workforce to be aware that, “In the event that an employee feels they have developed a dependency on cannabis we (ASAP) encourage them to seek assistance through our confidential Employee Assistance Program (EAP). The EAP can help the employee determine what resources are available to them based on their personal factors such as their health insurance.”

The Army's EAP is a voluntary, confidential program that helps employees at all levels work through various life challenges that may adversely affect job performance, health, personal well-being, and to optimize an organization's success. More information about the Army’s EAP can be found at,

To view 21 U.S.C. Chapter 13, Subchapter 1 – Control and Enforcement, in its entirety visit,

Disclaimer: This information does not and is not intended to constitute legal advice but is provided for general information only. If you have specific questions regarding your specific situation, you should consult with an attorney.