New Bill Protects Veterans from Losing Federal Benefits for Cannabis Use

Under current policy, veterans are not denied benefits by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) due to cannabis use. A new bill introduced in Congress would ensure that no future policy or administration would be able to change that.

The new bill introduced by Florida Congressman Greg Steube, a veteran himself, will fully protect military veterans from losing federal benefits in states where cannabis is legal. The bill will also allow for VA physicians to recommend medical cannabis to patients. VA physicians will also be able to discuss cannabis use with veterans and adjust treatment plans, and record cannabis use in medical records.

“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. “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 Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) benefits.”

Massachusetts representative Seth Moulton is planning on introducing a package of bills directed at allowing VA physicians to discuss cannabis as an alternative to opioids. A study on veterans using cannabis to self-treat PTSD or as a substitute for prescription pain pills has recently concluded, and researchers are currently going over the results of the study and will publish the results publicly.

“I think this bill is outstanding,” retired Air Force veteran Cheri Hill told Boston 25 News. “It protects this right for veterans in the future in general, so the policy can’t change.”

Hill has spoken openly about how medical cannabis has helped her with PTSD and anxiety, amongst other ailments. She also said medical cannabis has helped cut prescription pills out of her treatment plan.

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