Thirty Air Force personnel to be discharged over possession of synthetic marijuana

Synthetic marijuana and other synthetic drugs have caused quite a stir and a good amount of controversy over the last few months as law enforcement and the legal system try to adopt their strategies to combat the drugs. Synthetic marijuana was added to the federal government’s list of banned substances in March and many states have added varying forms of synthetic marijuana to their list of drug crimes.

The U.S. military has also had issues with synthetic drugs. Recently, the Air Force discharged 30 airmen for possession or use of the synthetic marijuana, “Spice.” The airmen were located at Tinker Air Force Base in Oklahoma.

Spice is a combination of herbs sprayed with a chemical that mimics the active ingredient of marijuana, THC. The synthetic chemical produces a high when smoked. Spice was first sold in Europe and has gained popularity in the United States over the last couple years.

The Office of Special Investigations of the United States Air Force conducted an investigation after the federal ban was instituted. The investigation revealed that 30 airmen were in possession of the drug or were using the drug. The rank of the airmen in the investigation varied from airman to senior airman, and about 15 of the airmen were regular users of the drug who provided the drug to other airmen. All 30 airmen are being discharged from the military.

The commander of the Air Force base said the investigation is a warning to others and demonstrates that the Air Force will not tolerate the use of controlled substances no matter how they are derived. The base commander also said that service members need to understand that Spice is a Schedule One controlled substance, and any members who use it are jeopardizing their military careers.

Service members who test positive for synthetic drugs can be court-martialed, dishonorably discharged, confined for at least five years, docked pay and demoted.

Source:, “Air Force to discharge 30 Tinker airmen for possession of synthetic marijuana,”Bryan Dean, 6/14/11

Max Keller has won countless jury trial cases involving misdemeanors and felonies, sex crimes, and DWI’s. He is a member of the Minnesota Society for Criminal Justice, which only allows the top 50 criminal defense attorneys in the state as members. Max is a frequent speaker at CLE’s and is often asked for advice by other defense attorneys across Minnesota.

Years of Experience: Approx. 20 years
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Bar & Court Admissions: State of Minnesota Minnesota State Court Minnesota Federal Court 8th Circuit Federal Court of Appeals State of Maryland

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