Access to MMJ for Veterans Grows, But the Struggle Continues
On Memorial Day, we honored those military service members who made the ultimate sacrifice. But for many combat veterans who return from battle with PTSD and debilitating injuries, medical cannabis provides crucial, sometimes life-saving relief. Veteran access to cannabis medicine is better than ever, but there’s still plenty of work to be done to ensure all our veterans can benefit from medical marijuana.
While veterans are not technically barred from access to Veterans Administration health services and programs for using medical marijuana, many other VA rules and regulations prevent access to the medicinal cannabis, especially for patients with limited mobility: the use or possession of marijuana is prohibited at all VA properties — no matter the form — and VA doctors may not prescribe medical marijuana or complete paperwork for state-approved marijuana programs.
And unlike Canada, where reimbursements for medical cannabis went from $400,000 to $20 million in just a few years for veterans, the VA will not pay for medical marijuana prescriptions from any source.
Despite all this, the VA does want folks to discuss marijuana use with their doctors and other providers. VA doctors and clinical staff will record marijuana use in the veterans’ VA medical record along with its impact on the veterans’ treatment plan.
And on the part of veterans, they are now more organized than ever, making the push for access themselves. Just last week the American Legion — which Politico called “one of the nation’s most conservative veterans’ groups” — called on President Trump to allow for marijuana research with vets.
Louis Celli, National Director of veterans affairs and rehabilitation for the American Legion, stressed the group is only advocating for research, but the group’s stance is still representative of a major cultural shift.
“We are not asking for it to be legalized,” Celli said. “There is overwhelming evidence that it has been beneficial for some vets. The difference is that it is not founded in federal research because it has been illegal.”
Continue reading this article at CannabisNow.com
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