The fight to legalize cannabis nationwide should begin by helping veterans get access to medical marijuana, according to Massachusetts Representative - and 2020 presidential candidate - Seth Moulton (D).
Right now, vets can't use medical marijuana without the risk of losing their Veteran's Affairs benefits, even if they live in a state that has legalized medicinal cannabis. In fact, so much as mentioning cannabis use to their doctor is enough for a vet to get their benefits stripped. But that could change if Representative Moulton wins the 2020 election.
In a recent op-ed published by the Washington Examiner, Moulton announced his hopes to change the status quo through new legislation that would finally allow vets in legal medical marijuana states to access the medication without losing access to VA services. The new legislation would also expand the VA's ability to research cannabis.
If passed, Moulton believes that these bills would help veterans move away from the addictive and dangerous opioid medications that they are commonly prescribed.
"Veterans seeking cannabis aren't druggies," Moulton wrote. "Many are American heroes who deserve a VA that researches cannabis and protects veterans from opioids using any method that's safe. Federal drug laws currently prevent researchers from figuring that out."
However, when numerous other presidential candidates are pushing for much broader cannabis reform measures, some voters may find Moulton's commitments a bit narrow. Still, Moulton says he supports broader legalization efforts, but he believes that taking an incremental approach to legalization is the key to success.
"Ultimately, making the VA a place where veterans can discuss and maybe someday access cannabis, will help our country evolve on this issue too," Moulton wrote. "Through that evolution, I believe we will be able to tackle bigger challenges together—like ending the fundamentally-unjust process of locking people up for possessing marijuana, and, in effect, sentencing them to a lifetime of fewer job opportunities. I support releasing people who are in jail for marijuana possession and expunging their records, especially because Americans in more than half the states in the nation voted to decriminalize this."
Moulton has made veteran access to medical marijuana a key issue for himself in the past and it is not surprising to see him continue to do so as he makes his bid for presidential election.