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Veterans Affairs Secretary Clarifies: He Can Study Marijuana, But Is Choosing Not To

Last week, the Secretary of the Veterans Affairs David Shulkin said his department could not study how medical marijuana could benefit former soldiers because the drug's illegal at the federal level. But he has now backtracked his statement, saying that his department actually can study cannabis, but is choosing not to.

While testifying before the Senate last week, Shulkin told lawmakers that studying marijuana is a difficult task for his department. He noted that he would have to go through multiple different agencies, and implied that the reason he won't give an order to study cannabis is because of too much red tape.

“We have to go through multiple agencies, and it is very challenging to work our way through that process,” Shulkin said. “If Congress made it easier to go through the process, it would probably happen faster."

Of course, this actually contradicts what Shulkin wrote to a group of congressmen last week. In a letter, he said, "VA is committed to researching and developing effective ways to help Veterans cope with post-traumatic stress disorder and chronic pain conditions. However, federal law restricts VA’s ability to conduct research involving medical marijuana, or to refer veterans to such projects.”

So in the course of a few days Shulkin has gone from saying he can't study marijuana to saying he can, but it's too hard. One Democrat called him on that BS.

“Just because it’s hard, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t do it," said Democratic Congressman Tim Walz.

Walz also noted that Shulkin has never asked Congress to make it easier to study marijuana. 

“He has not asked for help to remove those barriers. If so, we would start building a coalition to do what he needed,” Walz said. “He hasn’t asked. If you read his letter, there was no desire to pursue this.”

This is obviously another instance where the Trump administration is trying to subtly hide their anti-marijuana agenda. Instead of Shulkin straight up saying he doesn't want to study medical cannabis, he makes up multiple excuses. 

I'm sure that will work out for them in the end.

(h/t Stars and Stripes)


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