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Cannon: Airmen beware of hemp-based lotions

Staff and Wire reports

CANNON AIR FORCE BASE — Cannon Air Force Base officials have warned against suntan lotions and oils that contain hemp byproducts, including an active chemical found in marijuana.

By applying hemp byproducts there is a “statistically small” chance an airman could test positive for THC, a product Air Force officials test for randomly in Air Force personnel.

“Part of my job as military defense counsel is to ensure all airmen are aware of potential legal consequences of the military justice system,” said Capt. Gwendolyn Beitz, Military Defense Counsel assigned to Cannon. “This is a precautionary step as a reflection of so many hemp products being sold on the market today.”

Some area tanning salons sell products containing hemp seed oil, hemp oil or delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol — known as THC — marijuana’s main active chemical, according to the April 23 Mach Meter, Cannon’s newspaper.

Calls to five Clovis-area tanning salons Monday evening didn’t locate any that sold hemp products, but staff at two salons said they couldn’t comment without first getting clearance from their managers.

People in the military are prohibited from using marijuana, and the services test for THC levels.

“We have no reason to believe these products are illegal for military use,” said 2nd Lt. Jennifer Geeslin, deputy chief of public affairs.

Although there’s a “statistically small” chance of testing positive for THC from a lotion, the possibility “is simply not worth the risk,” according to the newspaper.

Cannon officials don’t believe anyone would be ingesting a lotion, but lotions could be applied over a cut or scrape, allowing a chance of absorption under certain circumstances, the article stated.

The article said a hemp-based lotion also could attract the attention of the base’s drug-sniffing dogs, which in turn could attract attention from supervisors and base prosecutors.

“While the lotion was not used with intent to break any laws and is not illegal, the fact that a military working dog alerts on your car or your person creates a perception that nobody wants,” it warns.

A Cannon spokesman, Airman 1st Class Jared Marquis, said Air Force policy forbids drug abuse. Airmen taking prescription medications, for example, are required to keep and show the paperwork.

“The zero-tolerance drug policy is all inclusive,” Marquis said.

The article was written after an officer with Cannon’s Area Defense Council, the base’s version of a civilian public defender office, noticed tanning businesses in Clovis and Portales sold lotions made of hemp byproducts, Marquis said.

The International Smart Tan Network, a tanning salon trade association, said THC in tanning products hydrates skin. The group said manufacturers of such lotions haven’t received complaints about positive drug tests.