The House Veterans’ Affairs Committee recently advanced two bills relating to veteran use of medical marijuana.
Currently, in the United States, the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) is unable to suggest or discuss medical marijuana as a treatment option for veterans across the country regardless of whether or not medical marijuana is legal in that particular state. At this time, thirty-three states across the nation have legalized medical marijuana and the use of cannabis for medicinal purposes.
“Now that a majority of states have legalized cannabis for medical use, it is indefensible to restrict veterans’ ability to access medical cannabis through their VA providers while members of Congress can use their federally subsidized health insurance to obtain medical cannabis recommendations from their doctors,” argues Don Murphy, Director of Federal Policy at the Marijuana Policy Project, an advocacy group pushing for marijuana policy reform.
He believes that the Federal law has no right to criminalize veterans who turn to cannabis as a form of relief from conditions such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) or chronic pain.
The Veterans Equal Access Act, sponsored by Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR), would permit the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs to recommend medical marijuana to their veteran patients as a treatment option for the disorders mentioned above in states where medical marijuana is legal.
The VA Medical Cannabis Research Act, sponsored by Rep. Lou Correa (D-CA), would require that the VA prioritize research exploring the potential of cannabis as an alternative treatment for these conditions that veterans are often affected by after serving.
Photo Source: Pixabay.com
“Our nation’s veterans have been calling for alternatives to opioids for decades. Cannabis has the potential to be that alternative,” Correa said. “Many studies from around the world show cannabis’s effectiveness in treating PTSD and chronic pain. It’s time we did the research and got our vets the medications they need. We owe it to every veteran to never stop looking for ways to treat their scars.”