Many politicians and lobbying groups have called on the Department of Veterans Affairs to study how medical marijuana could be used to help former soldiers cope with injuries and conditions sustained from combat. But the federal government says no can do.
Secretary of Veterans Affairs David Shulkin wrote in a letter to members of Congress that his department would not study medical marijuana and how it could help vets. 10 Democrats on the House Committee on Veterans Affairs originally sent a letter to Shulkin asking him to do so, but he has declined. However, he blames federal laws outlawing marijuana as the reason.
“VA is committed to researching and developing effective ways to help Veterans cope with post-traumatic stress disorder and chronic pain conditions,” Shulkin wrote to the members of Congress. “However, federal law restricts VA’s ability to conduct research involving medical marijuana, or to refer veterans to such projects.”
The American Legion, the largest veterans group in the United States, says around 22 percent of its members use medical marijuana, according to their survey. The VA itself found that 15 percent of veterans treated at outpatient clinics use medical cannabis.
It seemed like the VA had possibly turned a corner on the marijuana issue last month when it changed its policies to allow doctors to discuss cannabis with their patients. However, that policy still prevented VA doctors from actually prescribing marijuana, which made it less impactful. And now the department is saying it won't research how medical marijuana can help veterans.
But at least veterans will still have easy access to dangerous opioids!
(h/t Washington Post)