Military veterans face a quantity of difficult concerns on the cannabis front, all thanks to outdated federal laws and regulations.

The most painful of these is the truth that cannabis is nonetheless classified as a Schedule I controlled substance, which implies that it has no at present accepted healthcare use and is classified similarly to substances like heroin and meth.

Simply because of this, the United States government does not assistance military veterans possessing access to healthcare cannabis. Per the Division of Veterans Affairs (VA):

  • VA clinicians may well not advise healthcare cannabis
  • VA clinicians may well only prescribe drugs that have been authorized by the U.S. Meals and Drug Administration for healthcare use, such as opioids and other pharmaceutical drugs that are much more damaging than cannabis
  • VA clinicians are prohibited from assisting veterans with their state healthcare cannabis system paperwork
  • VA pharmacies may well not fill prescriptions for healthcare cannabis
  • VA will not spend for healthcare cannabis for veterans from any supply
  • Any use of cannabis on VA grounds is strictly prohibited
  • Veterans who are VA staff are topic to drug testing beneath the terms of employment

As you can see, cannabis is not tolerated in any way, shape, or kind by the VA — which can have a really damaging influence on veterans.

To claim that cannabis has no medicinal worth is ludicrous.

To address the absurdity of this concern head on, there is considerable investigation in properly-published journals about how cannabis assists veterans:

Much more investigation desires to be performed, but the claim that cannabis has no healthcare worth whatsoever is a really hard pill to swallow.

Speaking of tablets, lots of veterans are encouraged to take damaging pharmaceutical drugs like opioids, which are very addictive with harsh side effects. If veterans can consume alcohol for recreational purposes, then they really should be capable to consume cannabis, which is exponentially safer, for healthcare purposes.

The existing administration is not undertaking a great deal to move the concern forward. 

The Trump administration not too long ago sent officials from the VA to Congress to straight oppose 3 bills aimed at assisting veterans access healthcare cannabis and enabling improved investigation.

They also reportedly denied VA household loans and GI Bill added benefits to veterans that function in the cannabis sector.

A provision that would have helped veterans access healthcare cannabis was removed from a spending bill in Congress not too long ago due to staunch opposition from the VA.

Regardless of your political beliefs, this is clearly unacceptable. Military veterans have served our nation proudly, and the least we can do for these brave males and females is assist them access a confirmed medicine that is safer than the pharmaceutical drugs they are so typically prescribed.

Plus, no military veteran really should ever have to deal with becoming denied a VA household loan or GI Bill added benefits basically mainly because they make a living and assistance their households through a profession in the cannabis sector.

What can the federal government due to enhance federal cannabis policy for veterans?

The most thorough way for the federal government to make federal cannabis policy much more favorable to veterans is to de-schedule cannabis. That would take cannabis off the Schedule 1 list, which could either be accomplished by way of Congress or by way of direct action from the Executive Branch.

The VA created it clear when it not too long ago opposed previously talked about federal cannabis legislation aimed at assisting military veterans. “ Marijuana is illegal beneath federal law, and till that modifications, VA can not prescribe or advise it,” a VA spokesperson told The Washington Instances. De-scheduling cannabis would take away the illegal status about cannabis and as a result would make the VA’s existing stance on cannabis policy moot.

Historically, de-scheduling has been as well heavy of a lift. So, the subsequent ideal alternative would be for the Executive Branch to direct federal agencies to make exceptions for VA clinicians to be capable to advise healthcare cannabis if they assume it will assist individuals. Which means, if the Trump administration wanted to make exceptions to the policy, it could.

At the very same time, we’d like to see the federal government cease the practice of denying VA household loans to veterans that function in the cannabis sector. The very same is correct for denying GI Bill added benefits. This is discrimination at its worst.

Lastly, Congress could pass measures that assist enhance federal cannabis policy for veterans by growing access and investigation. If there’s sufficient political will in Congress, the work could even overcome a presidential veto, really should 1 take place.

Federal cannabis prohibition and the concerns that it causes for military veterans are unacceptable. The fixes to these concerns are simple. It is not science that is having in the way. It is not compassion for suffering veterans. Its politics, and we’d appreciate to see that adjust.


[1] Anderson, D. M. et al. “Medical Marijuana Laws and Suicides by Gender and Age”, American Journal of Public Well being, 104, no. 12 (December 1, 2014): pp. 2369-2376. [journal impact factor = 4.138; cited by 39 (ResearchGate)]