Veterans would be able to consume state legal cannabis, medicinal or otherwise without fear of losing their federal benefits under a bill introduced to Congress this week.
Under the current Veterans Affairs policy, vets cannot use medical marijuana without the risk of losing their VA benefits. That could soon change, however, if a recently filed congressional bill is passed. On Thursday, Rep. Greg Steube (R-FL) introduced the Veterans Cannabis Use for Safe Healing Act to the US Congress—which would protect veterans who choose to treat their health conditions with medical marijuana. It would also allow VA physicians to recommend medical marijuana to their patients and help them prepare the paperwork necessary to receive it.
Steube—who is a veteran himself—said his new bill protects both states' Tenth Amendment rights and allows veterans to access a potentially lifesaving medication.
"As a veteran, I'm committed to ensuring that veterans receive the care they deserve, and I know that sometimes that care can include medical marijuana," Steube said in a press release. "Receiving the appropriate treatment to address your health care needs—using products that are legal in the state in which you live—should not preclude you from your VA benefits."
There are currently a number of pending pieces of legislation in Congress that would mandate VA led research on medical marijuana. Additionally, there is at least one other bill that would allow veterans to access legal medical marijuana without surrendering their VA benefits as well.
But Steube's bill appears to take things one step further. If passed, Steube's bill would allow veterans to consume both medicinal and recreational cannabis, as long as it is legal in their state of residence.
Safe and legal access to medical marijuana is something that veterans have long fought for and wholly deserve. And there is certainly no good reason why they shouldn't be able to consume recreational weed just like every other adult if it's legal in their state. With any luck, changes on the federal level will be coming sooner rather than later so vets can finally be allowed to get he medication they need and the rights others enjoy.
h/t Marijuana Moment