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Servicemembers need to be aware of the rules surrounding controlled substances that are specific to the military. The possession, use, distribution, manufacture, import/export, or introduction to a military base or vessel of a controlled substance is illegal for military members under Article 112a, Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ).

Most drug cases in the military start from a positive test on a urine drug test, also called a urinalysis, or a medical drug screening. It is important for military members to be aware of the substances that are illegal, what can lead to false positives on drug tests, and how to ensure their urine sample will not test positive on a urinalysis.

Marijuana, CBD, Hemp and other THC Products

The legalization of marijuana and the development of concentrated substances like Delta-8 means military members often have questions about what substances they are prohibited from using. In short, despite growing legality, military members are still prohibited from using marijuana or any product containing CBD or THC. Learn more about the difference between marijuana, CBD, THC, and Hemp here.

Marijuana and Cannabis

Marijuana, also called cannabis, refers to the drug produced by the cannabis sativa plant and is a Schedule I controlled substance.  Cannabis can be smoked, vaporized, applied in creams or lotions, or consumed in a variety of food products that are not distinguishable from what you would see in a grocery store. Marijuana is illegal for military members to use, even in states where it is legal.

CBD (Cannabidiol)

Military members are prohibited from using products with CBD. CBD, or cannabidiol, is a chemical found in marijuana. CBD comes in many different forms including capsules, oils, gummies, vape cartridges, and lotions.

Ingesting CBD can result in a positive THC result on a urine test or drug screen, in part because labeling of CBD products and purity of the CBD in the products is unreliable. A recent study of 84 CBD products found that more than a quarter contained a different level of CBD than the label indicated, and THC was found in almost 20%, even though the labels did not indicate the presence of THC.

Hemp

Hemp can lead to a positive result of THC on a urinalysis test, and military members are prohibited from ingesting hemp. Hemp is not prohibited for civilians and is found in multiple everyday products and foods, including granola bars, crackers, cooking oils, and shampoo. Be careful to check product labels and avoid the products with hemp.

THC (Tetrahydrocannabinol), Delta-8, and Delta-9

THC is the chemical compound found in marijuana and hemp that creates a “high feeling”. Delta-8 tetrahydrocannabinol (also called THC-8 or Delta-8) and Delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol (also called THC-9 or Delta-9) are both cannabis compounds. The military drug testing process tests urine for both Delta-9 THC and Delta-8 THC and can detect which type of THC is in the sample. Both are illegal to use under the Uniform Code of Military Justice.

Positive Urinalysis

Members of every service in the military can be ordered to provide a urine sample for drug screening. Often, this happens via random drug tests, but can also be because of a number of other reasons, including a unit sweep or inspection, upon entering training, returning from leave, checking in to a new command, or for medical treatment.

The Department of Defense (DoD) provides minimum requirements and rules for the drug testing program every service must adhere to. The regulation can be found here.

How does a urinalysis work?

When your sample arrives at the lab, it goes through an initial screening test, called immunoassay testing. If the sample is negative during the initial screening test, it is reported as a negative result and the sample is destroyed. If the sample is positive during the initial screen test, it goes through confirmatory testing.

Confirmatory testing is conducted via gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC-MS) or liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry (LC-MS). If the confirmatory test result is negative, the sample is reported as a negative. If the sample is positive at a level over the DoD Cutoff, it is reported as a positive result.

The different substances and DoD cutoff levels are found in Tables 2 and 3 of the DoD Instruction.

If your sample tests positive for certain substances, for example amphetamines or opioids, a Medical Review Officer (MRO) will review your military prescription records to determine if you have been prescribed a medicine that would explain the positive test. If your military prescription record does not explain the positive test, you could face adverse action from your command.

However, MRO review is not required for all tests. For example, MRO review is not required for positive tests for heroin. And MRO review is limited to your military prescription records, so if you have prescriptions through civilian providers or are using over the counter medications, typically the MRO will not have that information to use during their review.

Product Labels and Prohibited Substances

Supplements

Supplements do not require FDA approval before being marketed and sold in the United States. Labels on supplements are also not subject to FDA approval. This means some supplements, pre-workouts, and energy drinks can have misleading, inaccurate labels. More information about the limits on the FDA’s regulation of supplements is explained here.

Military members can use this database to check the ingredients in any supplements to ensure the supplement does not contain ingredients that are banned by the Department of Defense (DoD).

There have been instances where supplements contained ingredients that led to positive results on urinalysis tests despite labels not listing any banned ingredients:

It is important to research any supplements, pre-workouts, vitamins, or other non-prescribed substances before using them to ensure your career will not be negatively impacted by a positive drug test.

Frequently Asked Questions-Urinalysis and Drug Cases

What happens if I failed a military drug test?

Failing a urinalysis or military drug test can have serious consequences for your military career. Every service has a zero-tolerance policy for drug use so a positive drug test can hurt or end a military career. A positive result on a drug test can be used as a basis for administrative paperwork, nonjudicial punishment or Article 15 proceedings, court-martial, and, most often, administrative separation or involuntary separation.

Every service requires that a member who is found to be wrongfully using illegal drugs be processed for discharge. This means if you test positive for an illegal substance, there is a very high likelihood that the military is going to try to kick you out or court-martial you.

There are defenses that can be raised and limits on how the results of drug tests can be used against you. It is important that you exercise your right to a lawyer and consult with an attorney who can defend you, keep you in the military, and fight for the best characterization possible if you are discharged.

Can military drug testing result in false positives?

Yes. Every service has their own drug testing labs to test urine samples for drugs. These labs are forensic labs that must be accredited. Part of the accreditation process is tracking errors or failures to comply with proper procedures. Below are some reported instances where errors or potential false positives have occurred at the military drug testing labs:

I tested positive for a substance I have never used. How can that happen?

One way that a false positive can happen is if there is an error in the way the test was conducted. Errors in the collection, storage, or shipping of samples, as well as errors in the testing process at the lab can result in false positives. Another way false positives can occur is through innocent ingestion, where you have ingested the substance accidentally or without realizing it. Some medications and prescriptions can also lead to a positive test for a prohibited substance.

Can I ask for my sample to be re-tested?

Yes. The military drug testing labs are required to keep urine samples that test positive for at least a year in case a re-test is requested.

What drugs does the military test for?

For the Air Force, Space Force, Navy, Marine Corps, Army, and Coast Guard, all urine samples are tested for the following drugs as part of the standard drug testing panel:

  • Amphetamines (including methamphetamine, methylenedioxymethamphetamine, MDMA/ecstasy)
  • Designer Amphetamines
  • Benzodiazepines (including lorazepam, nordiazepam, oxazepam, hydroxy-alprazolam)
  • Marijuana and Cannabinoids (including Delta-8, Delta-9, CBD, hemp)
  • Synthetic Cannabinoids
  • Cocaine
  • Opioids (Morphine, codeine, heroin, oxycodone, oxymorphone, hydrocodone, hydromorphone)
  • Fentanyl and norfentanyl

Contrary to what you may have heard, the military can test for LSD, spice, and hallucinogenic mushrooms. While the standard test the military uses does not test for these substances, in certain circumstances, or just periodically at random, some urine samples are submitted for specialized testing that can detect the following substances:

The military drug testing labs also continue to develop testing for new synthetic substances, and testing capabilities can expand to incorporate different substances if there is an uptick in use or positive tests for that substance.

After my positive test, my command referred me to a drug treatment program. Do I have to go?

Every service has their own internal drug and alcohol abuse treatment programs. The Air Force and Space Force have the Alcohol and Drug Abuse Prevention and Treatment (ADAPT). The Navy and Marine Corps have the Substance Abuse Rehabilitation Program (SARP). The Army Substance Abuse Program (ASAP) serves members of the Army, and the Coast Guard has the Substance Abuse Prevention Program (SAPP).

These programs can be helpful resources for military members struggling with substance abuse issues, and they accomplish a great deal of good for military members. But completing the program will not get you out of trouble or keep you in the military if your sample has tested positive.

If your urine sample tests positive, your command will likely refer you to the internal drug or substance abuse treatment program for your branch. If you are directed or ordered to attend an appointment with a counselor for this program, then failing to go could constitute failure to obey an order and result in action against you.

However, while you are required to show up to the appointment, you are not required to answer the questions from the program personnel. You can refuse to answer any questions, including questions about whether you have used illegal drugs, how often you have used illegal substances, and whether you have a substance addiction.

Be sure to discuss and understand the limits of confidentiality with program personnel and be clear about the information that will be passed along to your command from the program personnel, before you answer questions about your drug use.

Positive Drug Test? Contact An Experienced Military Defense Lawyer

Most importantly, if you find out you tested positive for a controlled substance on a urinalysis, contact Kral Military Defense immediately to learn about your rights and options. You want to do everything you can to protect your future. Having the right team is critical.

For a free consultation, call (855) 707-8265 or use the online contact form.

 

Kral Military Defense

Military Defense Attorneys

855-707-UCMJ

Our Team


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*Please note, KMD does not handle cases involving the Department of Veterans Affairs, disability claims, or family law matters.

Found myself in an unfortunate situation where I was in need of a lawyer. Luckily when I did a google search Kral Military Defense was the first website to pop up. If you are willing to fight for your name and career, then look no further Kral Military Defense is who you want on your side. Stephaine and her team are very knowledgeable and professional.
Kral Military Defenses has my highest recommendation! If you are a service member and need an attorney who is responsive, intelligent, and treats you like a person, not just a number. She is the attorney for you.I was on deployment when I needed an attorney. Kral Military Defense took care of my legal affairs while I was out to sea. It was a weight off my shoulders knowing she was handling my situation back home while I was gone.When my chain of command was putting unnecessary limitations on my liberty because of my legal situation. She went above and beyond by contacted my ship and was able to get them lifted.Kral Military Defense was able to resolve my situation with no action taken against myself. If I ever need of a defense attorney ever again I'm 100% coming back to Kral Military Defense.
matthew larason
matthew larason
1717638554
My local Military Defense Counsel is very short staffed so I had trouble getting a hold of them. Not wanting to wait I contacted Ms. Danielle Espinosa over the weekend and she was able to help review and discuss my response with me before it was due Monday. She was extremely knowledgeable, cut the fluff and told me like it was. I recommend anyone serious about the future of their Military Career to work with this team. Thank you for your help!
When I retained Ms. Kral, I was a nervous wreck. As she worked with me over the course of 18 months, she was compassionate and was able to assure me that I would have a future. Even my command JAG assured me I’d be alright when I hired her. I couldn’t have asked for a better outcome with my case. Ms. Kral should be your choice if you need a military defense attorney.
Chad S.
Chad S.
1710955344
Abbigayle Hunter and her legal team, especially Danielle Espinosa, were exceptional! The communication was prompt, professional, and thorough. From the moment we reached out to them, they showed a genuine interest in understanding our case and providing us with the best legal representation possible.Abbigayle Hunter and Danielle Espinosa, went above and beyond to ensure that we were kept informed throughout the entire legal process. They promptly responded to our emails and phone calls, addressing any concerns or questions we had. Their attention to detail and extensive knowledge of the law instilled confidence in us that we were in capable hands.Not only did Abbigayle Hunter and her team provide us with excellent communication, but they also displayed a remarkable level of expertise. They meticulously examined every aspect of our case, leaving no stone unturned. Their dedication and commitment to our case were evident in the meticulous research they conducted, the thorough documentation they prepared, and the persuasive arguments they presented.Abbigayle Hunter not only possessed an impressive understanding of the law but also had excellent negotiation skills. Her tirelessly advocated on our behalf, ensuring that our interests were protected and our rights were upheld. Their ability to navigate complex legal matters and maneuver through any obstacles that arose was truly remarkable.
Rufus Byrd
Rufus Byrd
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Stephanie and her team were AMAZING! I found her through a mutual friend and she handled my case with care and compassion. Even her team checked on me, answered all my questions I had, overall she made sure everything was token care of during the ENTIRE process! When she told me “don’t you worry, that’s my job” I truly believe her and in the end she got the results that I am so grateful for! Hopefully I won’t have to go through the process again but if I have to she will most definitely be the woman I WILL call on! Thank you so much Stephanie and Danielle you both made this process a lot less stressful with your knowledge and compassion towards me and my case!!!
Steph and her team worked diligently to ensure all evidence or lack there of was thoroughly examined. Her knowledge and experience within the military justice system gave me piece of mind throughout the process as she was well versed in the way everything played out. My family and I are grateful for the hard work and professionalism displayed by everyone on her team. Thank you!
Jonathon Lynch
Jonathon Lynch
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Hiring Steph has been the greatest thing for my career. In the last year alone I have had horrible encounters with my immediate chain of command and twice I had the best outcome given the circumstances. I highly recommend Steph.
Eva Aguilar
Eva Aguilar
1702090081
Steph was the first and clear choice to handle my ADSEP board. I was facing serious allegations, which she handled with professionalism while keeping me posted along the way. Her expertise in UCMJ matters is second to none. Without her I would have probably lost my retirement benefits.
Called on behalf of a veteran who is terminally ill regarding a discharge upgrade and spoke to their assistant Christian. Christian was so unbelievably rude and spoke to me like I'm an idiot when he was unable to answer the questions I had about their services and the process. The level of disrespect from him totally caught me off guard given the nature of work the office is supposed to be doing. What's more upsetting is the lack of empathy that he displayed during our conversation. Unfortunately, I can't not speak on the level of service from the attorneys since we decided to go with someone else but Christian either needs to undergo more training or he needs to be replaced.
Desiree M.
Desiree M.
1701019250
Stephanie is very experienced and a great attorney.
Jameel Yusuf
Jameel Yusuf
1700523346
There are many things that I could say about this particular law firm, but instead of going into the weeds on my particular case, I feel as though brevity would be the best choice here. I was primarily represented by Ms. Abbigayle Hunter, and in short, I believe the representation by Ms. Hunter was above reproach. I couldn’t have asked for a better legal professional to handle the complexities of my particular case. She was transparent, punctual, and actually made me feel as though she was personally invested, despite the fact that she had already been paid for representation. She didn’t sugarcoat hard truths and was very up front about all different aspects relating to my case. It was comforting in a way that she was also a fellow service member, and it made me feel as though she took this case to heart and it added another level of drive to the case. Ms. Hunter has a certain tenacity in the courtroom that I found very refreshing to witness, and I would strongly recommend her to anyone else seeking legal advice. Would actively seek to be represented by her again, though also hoping it’s never needed.
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Tim Malikie
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Outstanding!!!! She's very smart, knows her job, and communicates with you all the time with the best of her knowledge. I highly recommend Kral Military Defense!!!
Jamal Stephens
Jamal Stephens
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After my command refused to give me due process, I was lost for words and truly had no where to turn. A shipmate referred me to Steph and it was the best possible recommendation I have ever received. Reliable, expert, professional and overall just a great person. She never lost sight of my case and would check in on me to ensure I was doing good personally. I highly recommend her services to anyone who may have a legal issue. At minimum, request a consultation. I can assure that you will not be dissatisfied!
Vincent Hurtado
Vincent Hurtado
1696045742
Highly recommend Steph! Thank you for all your hard work and fighting for righteousness. My family and I will be forever grateful!
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Selena Hurtado
1696028177
Great team! After hiring this legal team i was pleased with their work and their ability to go above and beyond resulting in a finding of not guilty.
Tyson Smith
Tyson Smith
1695083777
Very easy to talk to. Will get you the best outcome there is
I wish you could give more than 5 stars. She deserves 10!! This was a huge decision for our child, but she was worth every penny and more. As a mom I was really concerned about him spending the money on an attorney since you never know what you’re going to get. Our child mentioned this to Stephanie and she called me to answer all my questions. She went above and beyond what was required of her, not just with the phone call but with everything she did. The case went on for longer than we had ever imagined. She never wavered in her dedication. I was honestly shocked at just how hard she worked. If only I could express in words the heart felt gratitude, we feel towards her. She fought so hard and we knew we could trust decisions she made. When ever our child would update us, we would ask what Stephanie thought. We never could have imagined finding an attorney who we trust as much as we trust her. I don’t believe you will find an attorney who will fight as hard for you as she will. I consider her a part of our family and am so very blessed to have gotten to know her. She’s an amazing attorney and an even more amazing human being.
Shelly B.
Shelly B.
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Stephanie was a great attorney as well as her team they helped me through my entire CID investigation and got me a no basis separation. Every question I had was answered in the upmost professional manner. I highly recommend that you retain her defense team for any case that you have. She’s attacks every case in a manner that leaves everyone with a reasonable doubt.
This was a life changing decision.I spent hours searching for and calling several attorneys. Some didn't give me the time of day, others just seemed cold. Mrs. Kral was the only attorney I called who actually seemed to care. And not only that but she listened me and gave an honest opinion. Usually you feel that attorneys only care about money but I never once felt that from Mrs. Kral. She took a personal interest in my case and brought not only her extensive knowledge of the law, but also her fierce attitude and relentless perseverance. She never missed a beat and always had a way forward. She also has excellent communication skills and took the time to explain everything to me at every step. I felt hopeless until we met. Now I can move on with my life and move forward with everything behind me because of how valiantly she fought. I truly think that if you decide to choose Kral Military Defense to fight for you then you'll never feel disappointed. If I could give more than 5 stars then I would. Because she's not like other attorneys. She will always have your back and keep your best interests at heart. If you take away anything from this review, let it be this: You want someone behind you that is willing to fight for you as if you were their own and also has the strength and knowledge to be successful. Don't pass up the opportunity to increase your chances and decrease your stress.
Evan Giancola
Evan Giancola
1690569966
The team at Kral Military Defense is very approachable, knowledgeable, and dedicated. I was facing an LOR due to the results of an investigation conducted by the military. The team at Kral Military Defense reviewed the report of investigation and was able to craft an excellent rebuttal to the charges. Ultimately, the leadership decided to rescind the LOR . The whole team, Steph, Danielle, ,Abby, and Chris were very responsive to my questions and requests through the whole process. If you ever find yourself in any sort of legal situation in the military I highly recommend that you contact them and put them in your corner!
Stephanie was very knowledgeable and despite me being so anxious about my case helped me through it and got an innocent verdict within 6 minutes of the board being adjourned. So very grateful for her and my JAG for helping me out and highly recommend hiring Stephanie especially if you are military.
Andrew Compton
Andrew Compton
1688678032
This law firm it worth every penny. Mrs. Danielle is an amazing women. She is kind and warm hearted and professional. She will make sure she understands you very well and will fights tooth and nail for you. Mrs. Abby is phenomenal. Mrs. Abby's Knowledge is deep and spot on. Mrs. Abby knows what to do and if she's not sure about UCMJ she'll make sure she does within your next call. Both these ladies are top-tier lawyer and paralegal. And I will always recommend these two to others for the duration of their long careers. Christian was a great guy and made sure all information was pushed up to them in a timely manner he's a hidden gem. They fight the good fight. Do not doubt them and work with them and they'll do their best and more.
Peter Petracca
Peter Petracca
1687897944
Kral Military Defense has been absolutely amazing to me. Their whole team is very easy to work with and does such an amazing job. Kral defense was referred to me by JAGS I used to work with and I would absolutely 110% recommend and refer them to anyone in need of assistance. They have made my whole situation stress free and easy.
Kyle Lewis
Kyle Lewis
1687375496
Steph and her team helped me to get a positive outcome during my NJP process. As soon I heard my case was going to captain mast, I googled military lawyer's and her name came up. With her experience as a former active duty Jag, her team truly understands the military system and what commands can and cannot do. With just a week to prepare for the NJP, her team got me templates that made the process easier. Her wording in her official letter to my command made it hard for the command to process several charges. This team is professional and know what they are doing. Hopefully I am never in this position again, but if so Kral Military Defense will be my first call.
James Johnson
James Johnson
1685052472
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About The Firm


Kral Military Defense defends members of America's military throughout the world. We do not maintain physical office space in the traditional sense. Instead, we offer secure video and telephone consultations and meet with current clients, as needed, at home and abroad.

KMD practices in Washington D.C. under D.C. App. R. 49, limiting the practice only to federal military courts in which we are admitted to practice providing services authorized under Rule 49(c)(3). No attorney is admitted to the Washington D.C. Bar, which is not required for our federal military practice.

Office Location


3111 Camino Del Rio N.
Suite 400
San Diego, CA 92108

The information on this website is for general information purposes only. Nothing on this site should be taken as legal advice for any individual case or situation. This information is not intended to create, and receipt or viewing does not constitute, an attorney-client relationship. Nothing on this site should create an expectation of any particular outcome or result. Every case is unique.

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