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Military weighs mellower marijuana restrictions for recruits

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WASHINGTON (CNN) — The military may not weed out recruits who used marijuana.

Speaking at City College in New York on Tuesday, Defense Secretary Ash Carter announced a wide-ranging review of recruiting standards and practices to ensure they are not “unnecessarily restrictive.”

The possible changes, outlined in a fact sheet distributed by the military, include a review of policies governing past marijuana use, tattoos, single parenthood and physical fitness standards.

Carter said reform was needed to keep the military “relevant for both today’s force and tomorrow’s” and to ensure America’s best and brightest young people see a future in the armed services.

In the past, a recruit who tested positive for pot or admitted past habitual use of the drug could be rejected, according a report in the Military Times.

But Carter noted that there are some “things we’ll never be able to compromise on.”

The Pentagon’s revamp of recruiting and advertising approaches will be revamped to put an emphasis on evolving technology, science and cyber, the defense secretary said.

The new recruiting campaign will be “disseminated through separate, but integrated print, TV, digital and social media information,” Carter said.

“In terms of where and how we recruit, we’ll be missing an opportunity if we kept fishing in only the same geographic ponds we are now,” Carter added. “We need to seize that opportunity by fishing in more ponds, new ponds, ponds we haven’t been in, in a long time. We have to draw talent from our country’s entire pool of population for our all-volunteer force.”

Carter also said he wanted to improve recruiting by offering more graduate school scholarships and grants, especially for law and medical school and sponsoring students in high school who are “interested in science, technology, engineering and math.”

“No matter who you are, who you love, who you look like, or where your parents came from, if you’re able and willing to serve, and meet our high standards, we give you a full and equal opportunity to do so,” Carter said.

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