The Federal Government Can't Decide What to Do With Veterans and Medical Marijuana

Many veterans groups are putting pressure on the federal government to allow VA hospitals and doctors to prescribe medical marijuana. But so far the feds have no idea how to handle the situation.

First, Secretary of Veterans Affairs David Shulkin said that his department was barred from researching medical marijuana for vets because the drug's illegal status at the federal level. But that quickly changed, and Shulkin said that he actually could research medical marijuana, but there are a ton of obstacles and red tape, and that he'd prefer for Congress to remove those barriers before allowing research to begin. 

But now the VA website is contradicting Shulkin as well. A webpage about PTSD research and veterans says the department “can look at marijuana as an option for treating Veterans.” The website also says there is some evidence that medical cannabis can be used to treat PTSD, but that the research isn't sufficient enough for the department to begin allowing its use.

Shulkin's opinion on marijuana is particularly confusing. In several statements, he's indicated that he's at the very least interested in research about medical cannabis and how it can help veterans. Yet he's resisted any urging to change his department's policies on the issue, and has instead vaguely claimed that "federal law" prevents him from doing anything, and he then says Congress needs to do something about it instead.

Meanwhile, members of Congress keep asking Shulkin why he isn't doing anything. As the head of his department, he'd be able to make policy changes such as either allowing VA doctors to recommend or prescribe medical marijuana in legal states. But he then tries to push the issue back onto Congress.

Like with most things in the Trump administration, this is another clear example of people either not understanding their job responsibilities or willfully doing so poorly to push their agenda.

(h/t Marijuana Moment)


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