Medical marijuana won't even be considered by Veterans Affairs Secretary Robert Wilkie until federal laws surrounding the substance change.
When asked at a press conference on Friday if medical marijuana was one of "several alternative therapies"the VA was exploring, Wilkie initially gave a pretty standard response: "marijuana is against federal law." However, when pressed about what would happen if the drug was to become legalized, Wilkie softened his stance somewhat.
"If the laws change and there’s medical evidence there, of course we look at that," Wilkie said. "But the law is pretty clear at the federal level."
Improving access to medical marijuana for veterans has long been one of the central concerns of the legalization movement. Current research suggests that cannabis could be a game changer for treating conditions like PTSD. But despite several bills that have tried to push the VA in that direction, nothing so far has made them budge. Even in states where medical marijuana is legal, Veterans Affairs refuses to subsidize the cost of prescriptions.
While it would be nice to see some real action on cannabis reform come from the VA, it seems nothing will happen without a shift in federal policy. And with the recent switch-up of leadership in the House Rules Committee, Jeff Sessions' resignation and rumors abound that cannabis legalization is in allegedly on President Trumps agenda, federal change may indeed becoming.
Veterans deserve access to safe, regulated medical marijuana and these changes couldn't come soon enough.
H/T: Marijuana Moment