Not much gets the passion of Americans going than the topic of Veterans. Most countries pride themselves in their military and its service crew, but barely any country gets as passionate about the topic as the USA.
Yet, often the topic of American Veterans also feels like an “ugly duckling”. For a country which prides itself that much on the role of its service people, much more could be done to support those who went abroad and fought for the country, defended democratic values, sacrificed themselves for freedom.
Only those who do their best to avoid the topic, or those living in a Veteran free Facebook feed filter bubble, can say they aren’t aware of the struggles many veterans who returned from one, or more, tours abroad have to go through.
While it has been a topic for quite some time already it seems action has finally been taken and the Hill is moving to change the injustice in which American veterans currently are denied access to medical marijuana when searching treatment via their VA doctor Even in those 33 states where medical marijuana is legal already.
Rep. Barbara Lee (D - CA) and Sen. Brian Schatz (D- HI) have filed the Veterans Medical Marijuana Safe Harbor Act which aims to allow VA doctors to prescribe medical marijuana for their patients, just like regular doctors can in states where medical marijuana is legalized. To do so the bill targets a five-year window in which VA doctors, and their patients, would be protected from federal sanctions.
“As the daughter of a veteran, I am committed to ensuring that our veterans have access to the quality and comprehensive medical care they deserve – including medical marijuana. The current federal prohibitions on cannabis are unnecessary, harmful, and counterproductive.”
“The federal government should never stand between our veterans and their medicine. This critical legislation is a long overdue step to empower veterans and their doctors to make informed health care decisions, without political interference.”
— Rep. Barbara Lee
Additionally, the bill also aims to fund research. In light of the acute opioid crisis, and thousands of veterans being prescribed opioids to combat their chronic pain issues, we can but applaud the broader scope of the act. But, of course, having access to medical marijuana alone — and thus a level playfield with other citizens — would be a massive evolution already.
“In 33 states, doctors and their patients have the option to use medical marijuana to manage pain — unless those doctors work for the VA and their patients are veterans.”
“This bill gives VA doctors in these states the option to prescribe medical marijuana to veterans, and it also promises to shed light on how medical marijuana can help with the nation’s opioid epidemic.”
— Sen. Brian Schatz (D-HI)
While the bill, which is also co-sponsored by Sen. Tim Kaine, seems a further “hansaplast”, pending sensible marijuana laws and descheduling of marijuana, it is high time that Veterans get access to the same possible treatment that other citizens do. That without putting their treating doctors at risk. In fact, the regulatory hurdles and inaccessibility for VA doctors to medical marijuana once again proves the ongoing “ugly duckling” status of American Veterans.
Obviously, we prefer and can not wait for cannabis to be both descheduled and federally legalized, but we can but support the proposition of The Veterans Medical Marijuana Safe Harbor Act. No veteran suffering from chronic pain or PTSD should be refused access to medical marijuana.
University of Michigan Institute for Social Research survey
No human should be denied access to marijuana but definitely not those who served their country, putting their own lives at risk in the name of freedom. In the name of their country. For their country.
Because it is beyond ridiculous that they are denied access, even in legal states, when searching treatment via VA doctors.