Pot shops in Washington have recently received the upsetting news that their businesses are now off-limits to all members of the American Armed Forces. According to Cannabis Now, the decision came from the Armed Forces Disciplinary Control Board, who sent letters to local dispensaries saying that all its members are banned from purchasing or using cannabis. Many businesses were shocked and alarmed, not knowing what this could mean for the future of their business.

Washington’s Initiative 502 allows the sale of marijuana, but since the military are governed at the federal level, the control board has legal authority over them. Pot shops were threatened with legal action if they sold to military personal.

A military spokesperson explained that similar letters are sent to most businesses engaging in conduct from which members of the armed forces are banned. This includes vices like prostitution.

What does this mean for the shops?

It’s now legally up to the shops to make sure no military personal are served. Many shop keepers are worried, either because they don’t believe in turning away customers, or because they simply don’t know if they’ll always be able to identify members of the military. Cannabis is still considered illegal at the federal level and so if shop owners are in court, they’ll face the full force of the law.

A military spokesperson stated that the responsibility is with the military personal – while shop owners should not serve them, it is the responsibility of the members of the armed forces to abstain from pot shops. Even if this makes some sense, shop owners are still worried. Not only can the ban affect their business, but one wrong step or unfortunate sale could land them in federal court.