'Beards, Boots And Buds': How The Canadian Army Is Different To Others

'Bud', a slang word for cannabis, was made legal in Canada last year, meaning Canadian troops are now free to smoke the drug.

There are a number of similarities between the British and Canadian armies, but there are also some stark differences.

Unofficially named by some soldiers, the '3Bs' refers to three things - 'beards, boots and buds'.

'Bud' is a slang word for cannabis which remains an illegal Class B drug in the UK.

However, Canada legalised the drug last year and Canadian forces are also free to smoke it.

Lieutenant Matthew Howse said the Canadian military has been "very pro-active in adapting" to the new law, with personnel subject to "guidelines and restrictions" to "maintain safety on the job at all times".

There is no set restricted period around cannabis use for operations - however use of the drug would be prohibited for the duration of training leading up to any deployment, whatever the duration of the training.

Consumption of the drug is restricted 28 days prior to any known or expected performance including: operating in a hyperbaric environment, working at an altitude of 3,962 metres above sea level, working as part of a military aircraft's crew, controlling an aircraft, or operating an unmanned aircraft.

Last year, then-Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson announced that the Army was introducing a zero-tolerance drugs policy and said that "anyone caught taking drugs can be and should expect to be dismissed from the Armed Forces".

Cannabis shops are common sights on Canadian high streets after the drug was made legal in October 2018.
Cannabis shops are common sights on Canadian high streets after the drug was made legal in October 2018.

Last year, the Canadian army also approved of soldiers growing beards.

To stick to the "strict grooming standards", Lieutenant Howse said the cheekbones and neck must be shaved, with a length of no more than two centimetres. 

Currently, the one of the only British Army soldiers allowed to grow a beard is a Pioneer Sergeant, a traditional role that has existed since the 1700s.

It is protocol to be clean-shaven when in British Army uniform unless the permission of the commanding officer is obtained. 

Otherwise, there are only a few exceptions in the Army which allow for servicemen to have a beard, such as skin complaints or for religious reasons.

The final 'B' stands for boots.

Depending on which unit the soldier is in, they can buy their own pair every year, or every two or three years, as long as they cost no more than $340. 

The British Army, however, still has a boot uniform which soldiers must follow.