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A handful of bills introduced in Congress are concentrated on expanding veterans’ access to medical cannabis news in states where it is legal and face longer odds than the research measure.
would authorize health providers in the VA to give recommendations and opinions on medical Veterans Cannabis Use for Safe Healing Act, which would codify an existing directive that would protect veterans from being denied benefits due to participation in medical marijuana programs and would also allow VA staff to help veterans fill out forms to enroll in the state marijuana programs.
Non-veteran specific marijuana reform bills, including the measure that would remove marijuana from the controlled substances list or one that would cede authority over marijuana laws to Individual states, could also alter veterans’ usage of this medication.
However, barring legalization in a federal level, it appears unlikely that the invoices introduced on Capitol Hill recently will relieve Most veterans’ concerns — or that the VA will change its policies at all.
Even if VA doctors are allowed to recommend or prescribe cannabis, it would still only be an option for veterans living in states with medical marijuana programs, creating uneven treatment plans within a national health system.
Still, given hints that there is growing bipartisan support for national marijuana reform and recent comments by Attorney General Bill Barr indicating he would support a change in federal marijuana law, proponents of recently introduced legislation say they’re hopeful the efforts
have a shot.
“We believe our voices have been heard to the Hill,” says Distaso, the head of the Veterans Cannabis Project. “The legislature understands that it, they’re attempting to have this much-needed Therapy to specialists.”
Joshua Littrell, who served in the Air Force for six years and was deployed during Operation Iraqi Freedom, says he has reduced his opioid dependence and gotten sober from alcohol because of medical marijuana. He now leads his own veterans’ medical marijuana advocacy the band out of his home in Georgia.
“We know that this comes from the federal level because the feds cover [the VA’s] hands. So this is an act of Congress,” Littrell says. “It’s got to be done. Because of every single day veterans die.”