On March 12, the House Veterans Affairs Committee (HVAC) passed two different cannabis policies.
“Our veterans put their lives on the line to defend our country, the absolute least we owe them is to ensure they are taken care of when they return to civilian life,” stated NORML Executive Director Erik Altieri. “It is imperative that we approve legislation such as the Veterans Equal Access Act so that the countless vets suffering from post-traumatic stress and other debilitating disorders have access to the safe and effective option of medical marijuana treatment.”
The first bill, HR 712, also called the Veterans Affairs (VA) Medicinal Cannabis Research Act of 2019, would allow the VA to conduct more research on how cannabis can help patients in order to back up existing medical claims. The second bill, HR 1647, known as the Veterans Equal Access Act of 2019, would let VA doctors fill medical cannabis prescriptions even in non-legal states.
Rep. Earl Blumenauer, sponsor of the second aforementioned measure, expressed his satisfaction that veterans could finally have access to medical cannabis very soon. “Today was a monumental day for our veterans. We have been working for years to reform this counterproductive policy that forces veterans outside of the VA to receive legal medical cannabis treatment for chronic pain and PTSD. This is the culmination of the tremendous work of our movement, but we will not be finished until this becomes the law of the land. We must reform our federal cannabis policy.”
Next up, the House Majority will be voting on the issue. This will be a big step forward for cannabis law in the VA. Presently, employees of the VA still can’t consume cannabis. Still, the fact remains that veterans consume even more cannabis than prescription drugs, and they want access to medicine.