Youth marijuana use is impacting Military recruitment crisis, Pentagon study suggests | Eastern North Carolina Now

By Peyton Majors
Christian Action League
April 5, 2024

The overwhelming majority of young Americans do not qualify for military service because they are either overweight, abuse drugs or have mental health issues, according to a new Pentagon study that one pro-family leader says should impact the nation’s debate over marijuana legalization.

All total, 77 percent of young people do not qualify for the military without a waiver — an increase from the previous military estimate of 71 percent.

“When considering youth disqualified for one reason alone, the most prevalent disqualification rates are overweight (11 percent), drug and alcohol abuse (8 percent), and medical/physical health (7 percent),” the Pentagon study says.

The data is based on young Americans ages 17 to 24. Most young Americans — 44 percent — are not qualified for more than one reason. But 8 percent are disqualified for only drug abuse and 4 percent for only mental health reasons. A total of 7 percent are disqualified for physical and mental health reasons.

Maj. Charlie Dietz, a Department of Defense spokesman, said the study underscores the difficulty in recruiting new members of the military.

“There are many factors that we are navigating through, such as the fact that youth are more disconnected and disinterested compared to previous generations,” Dietz said, according to “The declining veteran population and shrinking military footprint has contributed to a market that is unfamiliar with military service resulting in an overreliance of military stereotypes.”

A 2022 Oregon Health & Science University study found that teen marijuana abuse in the United States has increased 245 percent since 2000 as legalization has boomed across the nation.

Sen. Thom Tillis, R-N.C., said in 2022 he is concerned about the future of military readiness.

“To put it bluntly, I am worried we are now in the early days of a long-term threat to the all-volunteer force. [There is] a small and declining number of Americans who are eligible and interested in military service,” Tillis said.

The North Carolina senator added: “Every single metric tracking the military recruiting environment is going in the wrong direction.”

Rev. Mark Creech, executive director of the Christian Action League, said the Pentagon study should impact the debate over marijuana legalization.

“Americans should be deeply concerned about the findings of this Pentagon study,” Creech said. “Undoubtedly, all the factors mentioned that challenge recruitment numbers in the military are significant. However, in light of the concerted effort to legalize marijuana and other drugs in this country, we must recognize how these initiatives are threatening us from within, rendering us more vulnerable than ever to our global adversaries.”

A bill that would have legalized medicinal marijuana in North Carolina passed the state Senate last year but failed to gain a vote in the House. Opponents of the bill argued it would have been a stepping stone to recreational legalization statewide.

“The approval of so-called medicinal marijuana in 38 states, along with recreational marijuana in 18 states, is indicative of a concerning trend,” Creech said. “It appears we are on the verge of abandoning reason, risking our society’s stability due to the laxity in our drug laws.”

The adolescent years, he said, represent a “pivotal phase for brain development, and marijuana use during this period can disrupt its natural progression.”

“Critical brain regions responsible for learning, memory, and decision-making are especially susceptible to marijuana’s effects. Research indicates that regular marijuana use in adolescence can lead to cognitive deficits, including issues with attention, memory, and executive function,” Creech said. “Furthermore, ample evidence suggests that marijuana use during adolescence heightens the risk of developing mental health disorders such as depression, anxiety and psychosis. This risk may be amplified in individuals with a genetic predisposition or those who consume marijuana frequently and in large quantities.”

Nationwide, Creech said, such cities as Denver, Oakland, Santa Cruz, Ann Arbor and Washington, D.C., have “enacted measures to decriminalize or de-prioritize the enforcement of laws against psychedelics.”

“Additionally, Oregon passed Measure 109 in 2020, legalizing the supervised use of psilocybin for individuals aged 21 and above in therapeutic settings.”

“Advocates for marijuana legalization often argue for its medicinal benefits, particularly for veterans suffering from PTSD. However, there is a darker aspect to this narrative,” Creech said. “The promotion of medicinal marijuana inadvertently normalizes its use among young people, leading them to believe that marijuana is inherently benign. Yet, there is overwhelming evidence linking marijuana use to various forms of mental illness. Thus, marijuana legalization, even under the guise of medicine, presents a contradictory scenario — supposedly bestowing a blessing with one hand to military veterans, while also cursing recruitment in the military with the other.”

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( April 7th, 2024 @ 4:06 pm )
Tillis and Creech are both off their freakin' rockers. This article is both mind numbingly stupid and a major reason why NC Conservatives, as a whole, aren't taken seriously.

I don't understand how these people raise holy hell about "fake news" and then, without question, believe the bullshit they hear on 107.9 or any other news source. It's both insanity AND stupidity at its highest degree.

Major pushback against "Green Agenda" building in both US and Europe Rev. Mark Creech, Editorials, Beaufort Observer, Op-Ed & Politics Beyond tragedy: State needs to revisit its alcohol policy


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