In the Army, even trace amounts of THC—the active chemical in marijuana—can result in a failed drug test and disciplinary action. That is why, last month, the Army officially banned "Strong and Kind" bars, popular energy bars from the KIND LLC that contain hemp seeds.
According to Army Regulation 600-85, "Soldiers are prohibited from using Hemp or products containing Hemp oil." Additionally, the "…Violations of paragraph 4-2 (p) may subject offenders to punishment under the Uniform Code of Military Justice and or administrative action."
There is, however, some debate on how much THC could be contained in energy bars in question. Dr. Christopher States of University of Louisville School of Medicine spoke with Army reporters and confirmed that a person would have to consume a considerable amount of shelled hemp seeds to test positive for THC. Other studies have shown that THC in hemp seeds is mostly located in the shell (or "hull"), which is not typically present in food products like the "Strong and Kind" bars.
Still, the Department of Defense has already purged its commissaries of the "Strong and Kind" bars. The new prohibition of the bars does not include all KIND bars, only five specific flavors of its "Strong and Kind" variety:
- Hickory Smoked
- Roasted Jalapeno
- Honey Mustard
- Thai Sweet Chili
- Honey Smoked BBQ
ASSERTIONS OF COMPLIANCE FROM KIND
A spokesman from KIND LLC has responded to the Army's banning of their product. According to Joe Cohen of company, KIND is well-aware of the Army and DOJ's regulations concerning THC tests, but insists that their "Strong and Kind" bars would only result in a less than .0001 percent THC reading—the admissible level of THC allowable in an Army personnel drug test. KIND also asserted that hemp is a nutritional source of protein and fiber.
As the Army's website notes, however, this does not excuse personnel from knowingly consuming hemp seeds. Barring an amendment to Army Regulation 600-85, to do so will remain a punishable offense for service members.
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