Congress Considers Amendment Allowing VA Doctors To Recommend Veterans Medical Cannabis

The Senate Appropriations Committee has recently voted to add an amendment to the Military Construction, Veterans Affairs, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act that would prevent Veterans’ Affairs from denying treatment to veterans based on their use of legal cannabis. The amendment will prevent discrimination against certain veterans who use medicinal marijuana by blocking the VA from using any funds to stop veterans from accessing marijuana through other health care providers.

This would be a major step for veterans because studies show that one in five veterans use cannabis for medical or physical treatments, and they shouldn’t have to face negative backlash for this, especially considering that the opiate death rate for veterans is nearly double the national average and suicide rates are 50 percent higher.

This amendment will allow veterans to access cannabis without restrictions or interference by the VA and will prevent unnecessary deaths by giving an alternative to highly addictive and dangerous opiates. This amendment, however, will not allow the sale, possession, or dispensing of cannabis on Veteran Affairs’ property, which is and will remain prohibited. In order for the amendment to be passed, it will need to be included into the Veterans Affairs final Fiscal Year 2019 bill.

Key Points:

  • 1Recently, the Senate Appropriations Committee voted on adding a clause to the Veteran Affairs annual spending bill.
  • 2This add-on would make it permissable for veterans to use cannabis as a treatment plan for emotional and physical ailments.
  • 3It would give this permission by protecting marijuana users and making it illegal to treat them any different from non-marijuana users

So many of these deaths are preventable. Part of the solution is to offer our veterans alternatives to highly-addictive opioids. One alternative is medical cannabis.

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