Newport This Week

Legal Marijuana Prohibited at NAVSTA Newport

Rhode Island recently announced a new law governing the possession and use of recreational marijuana, but the new policy and its provisions do not extend to federal land and facilities, including Naval Station Newport. The new law does not make it permissible for any personnel residing in the Navy’s public private housing areas, or their guests, to use or possess marijuana in any of its locations or communities.

“Although the state has legalized recreational marijuana, it is still prohibited by federal law on military reservations, lands and in facilities owned or operated by the federal government or its agencies,” said Bruce Katz, public affairs officer at the installation. “The Department of Defense policy continues to apply to all military personnel, civilian employees, contractors and others who work at, live on or visit the installation, including all of its recreational and housing areas outside the perimeter fences of the installation.”

Although Rhode Island and 18 other states have legalized marijuana, federal law continues to uphold and enforce possession or distribution of marijuana as a criminal act.

The federal laws and prosecution of marijuana use and possession is not limited to uniformed service members.

The DOD outlines the policy for civilian employees and identifies a full range of disciplinary actions to include reprimands, suspension and removal from service, and reinforces the Department of the Navy “Drug-Free Workplace” guidelines for workers, whether on or off duty.

Non-government-affiliated personnel are also subject to legal action and consequences as a result of possessing or using marijuana on federal property. The use or possession of marijuana by any person on a military installation or U.S. government property can be prosecuted in federal court.

Those entering federal property implicitly consent to inspection and search upon entry or access to military installations and facilities. Persons, personal belongings and vehicles can be searched where there is reasonable suspicion of criminal activity, including possession or use of marijuana.

Additionally, personnel residing in military housing, regardless of affiliation, found to be violating the tenant lease or resident handbook for housing can be evicted. Other potential repercussions and penalties for marijuana use or possession at Naval Station Newport may include being permanently barred from the installation.

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