On Tuesday the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee approved to increase the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) medical marijuana research for our vets.
If this becomes law, the veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and many other ailments will be getting lots of medical benefits from this kind of treatment.
The House VA panel also voted to increase veterans’ access to private-sector doctors, and expand caregiver stipends to more former military families.
Last year former VA Secretary David Shulkin said he was open for medical marijuana to treat PTSD.
In March President Trump fired Shulkin, an Obama-era holdover by a tweet. A month later Trump replaced him with Rear Adm. Ronny Jackson who withdrew his nomination after a series of allegations of misconduct at the workplace.
Lawmakers, on a bi-partisan basis, are hoping this becomes law before Memorial Day.
Rep. Phil Roe, R-Tenn., the committee chairman, said the VA needs to explore marijuana and other possible alternatives to addictive opioids.
Roe also said:
“I’m keenly aware of need for VA to critically examine possible new treatments that could benefit veteran patients, Like many of us on this dais, I’ve heard from many veterans who believe medical cannabis can help them lead healthy lives. Right now, we don’t know if that’s true or not, and that’s why we believe the VA should conduct rigorous research on medical cannabis just like any other medication or treatment.”
Eric Goepel with the Veterans Cannabis Coalition said the bill has little immediate impact for veterans, though it is a “necessary first step.” The coalition advocates for increased access to medical marijuana.
Rep. Tim Walz of Minnesota, the ranking Democrat on the House committee, is running for governor in his state in November. He cited the bill as one initiative that he wants to see through by then.
He also said:
“Even if you don’t think cannabis is useful, our veterans deserve to know for sure.”
Under federal law, the VA is currently blocked from prescribing medical marijuana.
Video and image from Vice News on Youtube.