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Do You Support Veterans Having Access to Medicinal Pot Through the VA?

Should Veterans Have Access to Medical Marijuana Through the VA?

by Countable | Updated on 2.17.19

What’s the story?

  • A duo of Democratic lawmakers have introduced legislation that would doctors at the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) “to discuss and potentially recommend medical marijuana to veterans in states that have established medical marijuana programs,” according a statement.

What would the bill do?

The Veterans Medical Marijuana Safe Harbor Act would:

  • Create a temporary, five-year safe harbor protection for veterans who use medical marijuana and their doctors.
  • Direct the VA to research the effects of medical marijuana on veterans in pain.
  • Direct the VA to research the relationship between medical marijuana programs and a potential reduction in opioid abuse among veterans.

What are people saying?

  • "Right now, in the 33 states where it is legal, doctors may recommend medical marijuana to help eligible patients. Our bill ensures that doctors who work for the Department of Veterans Affairs can discuss and potentially recommend medical marijuana to their patients that are veterans in accordance with state law,” said Sen. Tim Kaine (D-VA), a member of the Senate Armed Service Committee, who co-sponsored the bill.
“To do otherwise amounts to unfairly punishing the men and women who served in our military. The bill would also take an important step in further exploring whether medical marijuana can be a viable tool to help veterans in pain and reduce opioid abuse,” Kaine said.
  • “Our members have spoken loud and clear on this issue,” said Tom Porter, Legislative Director for Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America. "Eighty-three percent of respondents to our recently-released member survey approved of cannabis use for medicinal purposes. With such overwhelming support, we need to be removing barriers to care for veterans, not maintaining them."
  • Regardless of whether the VA approves of or encourages veterans’ use of medical marijuana, there’s a need for VA health care providers to understand medical marijuana so they can advise patients on responsible use and risks. As the New York Times’ David Phillipps observes, there are important drug interactions and dependency risks that need to be managed:
“The growing use of medical marijuana among veterans is not without risks, though. Cannabis can interact with some prescription medications. Frequent use can lead to dependency and abuse. New forms of concentrated cannabis that are inhaled as vapor can compound both of those problems. And cannabis’s therapeutic value in treating chronic pain, PTSD and other ailments is far from clear.”

What do you think?

Do you want your reps supporting the Veterans Medical Marijuana Safe Harbor Act? Take action and tell your reps, then share your thoughts below.

—Josh Herman

(Photo Credit: iStockphoto.com / rgbspace)

Countable

Written by Countable

Leave a comment
(379)
  • Lori
    02/16/2019
    ···

    Ms Blackburn your bad legislation has killed two of my family members and has caused a major drug addiction for hundreds of thousands of your constituents. Congratulations. Now try and clean it up. Allow everyone access to medical marijuana not just veterans

    Like (79)
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  • Jann
    Voted Support
    02/18/2019
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    Look at the numbers! 93% say yes! Time to step up.

    Like (11)
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  • Kip
    Voted Oppose
    02/19/2019
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    We live in a country that is addicted to every possible drug and always looks to a drug instead of a cure. We almost lost a generation of vets who came back from Vietnam who were given pot and other drugs to "Help" them. I think we can learn from our past mistakes and not go down that road again. Medicines are fine but just to get high? NO WAY! We are better than that and have better aspirations for our veterans than that.

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  • Robin
    02/16/2019
    ···

    Yes no matter what anyone says it’s better than drugs like opioids and tranquilizers. They’ve earned decent care. It’s time we have their backs.

    Like (59)
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  • Keith
    Voted Support
    02/18/2019
    ···

    As a disabled veteran, I would benefit from being able to discuss medicinal marijuana with my VA doctors. Right now, I would have to go to an outside doctor and pay a considerable amount out of pocket for an exam, then the license, then the product. If the VA doctors can make the certification, that would cut a significant cost, and make it more accessible.

    Like (8)
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  • Norm
    Voted Oppose
    02/19/2019
    ···

    I see all the potheads voted.

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  • Rodney
    02/16/2019
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    Yea to this... and please get the pharmaceutical lobbyists out of the governments ears

    Like (46)
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  • C
    02/16/2019
    ···

    Absolutely!

    Like (43)
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  • TexJohnson
    02/16/2019
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    Marijuana shouldn’t be illegal anyways. It’s a plant. You can’t outlaw a plant that grows naturally on God’s green earth. It’s not only unconstitutional to do so but it goes against natural law. The issue of whether or not marijuana should be illegal is nothing but a flagship talking-point for political debate that politicians can use to sway uninformed and unintelligent voters (on both sides). It’s an easily identifiable topic that a constituent (and politician) can use to label themselves a left or right winger. The fact is, drinking alcohol is 1000 times more dangerous to yourself and to those around you than consuming marijuana. But alcohol is legal because, well, we all saw what happened when special interests tried outlawing alcohol during prohibition. The reality is, if you’re against full legalization of marijuana, you’re really not against marijuana itself...you’re against what it represents in pop culture. You’re against the stereotypical “pot head” that is portrayed by prejudicial special interests. Let’s be honest, those few individuals against full legalization of marijuana are uniformed voters who hold a very inaccurate prejudicial view of those who are in favor of full legalization. Country music sings about drinking whiskey, rap music sings about smoking pot. The real issue couldn’t be more obvious - it’s a cultural thing (and yes, I do listen to country music more than rap). Anyways, if you’re still reading this far it’s probably because you either smoke pot or you’re a very reasonable person (or I made you very angry and you’re gonna “let me have it.” That’s your right I guess). I myself have never smoked marijuana, but as a “gun-toting” right wing veteran (who undoubtedly is looked at as a gun nut by left wingers - but not by reasonable ones), I understand the importance of personal freedom and how easily people can be influenced to demonize your personal beliefs and liberties just for the sake of political gain. Legalize marijuana. It literally never hurt anyone, and quite frankly it’s none of my business what people consume, just like it’s no ones business how I choose to defend myself. Now I know someone’s gonna say “oh well you sound libertarian.” I’m not. I’m not anything. I don’t pledge to a party platform. Why would I be so restrictive to label myself like that? My views are much more diverse than a party platform. The only thing I pledge to is the American flag and to the republic (the people) for which it stands. So smoke your pot and shoot your guns. Freedom is what America is all about. Always has been, always will be.

    Like (42)
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  • Sean
    02/16/2019
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    Absolutely! The medical benefits should not be held back from veterans because congress can’t reschedule it. I agree we need to study it more before it’s fully endorsed by everyone but even pharma medications have side effects we’re still learning about. Leave the choice up to the patients/doctors.

    Like (30)
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  • Susan
    02/16/2019
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    Anything that helps our veterans should be legal and readily available

    Like (25)
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  • Angelo
    02/16/2019
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    I know many people are brainwashed by the Nixon propaganda on how bad pot is. Please do your research as to the benefits of this plant. Yes for medical use not just for Vets but everyone.

    Like (25)
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  • Glowurm
    02/16/2019
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    Most definitely!

    Like (23)
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  • Alex
    02/16/2019
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    Absolutely!! Every state should approve medicinal marijuana for use by veterans and citizens alike. The opposition’s argument that it is a “gateway drug” has been disputed by many studies. However, the positive effects of marijuana for pain, anxiety, and many other conditions is very real.

    Like (20)
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  • Dustin
    02/16/2019
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    Yes absolutely

    Like (17)
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  • Dale
    02/17/2019
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    I’d like to see this legislation to become law. Cannabis should be available, not only to our veterans, but to the public as a sound medical option. Opioid addiction and the pharmaceutical industry’s stranglehold on our political processes must end.

    Like (16)
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  • Femdelacrem
    02/16/2019
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    As a veteran, I wholly support this!

    Like (15)
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  • David
    02/16/2019
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    As a Vet, I say yes unequivocally. But, Do. Not. Allow. Privatization of the VA health care system. Just fund it properly don’t sell it to the Republicans buddies.

    Like (14)
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  • J. scott
    02/17/2019
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    It’s important to note here that as an example marijuana is legal in Colorado but it’s still not available to Veterans through the VA as other medicines are routinely because it’s still illegal at the federal level and they, the VA, cannot legally dispense it. In my view that’s what the question is about — it’s not about dividing people into groups — it’s about equal access for Veterans as a medicine where it’s currently legal.

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  • Maryjane
    02/16/2019
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    Yes on medical marijuana.

    Like (13)
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  • SneakyPete
    02/16/2019
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    NO......... NO ........... NO ..........AND NO......... On the The Veterans Medical Marijuana Safe Harbor Act of 2019. Is it nothing more than being just another potential Sad step leading to the legalization of Marijuana. Am I wrong in making an assumption that the bill would permit marijuana to be prescribed “Illegally’’in states where marijuana is not legalized to be prescribed or authorized for recreational or medical consumption? SneakyPete.......... 🙅‍♂️🙅🏼‍♀️🙅‍♂️🙅🏼‍♀️. 2*16*19.........

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  • Robert
    02/16/2019
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    Marijuana is the best painkiller known to humanity. Vets and all other people deserve this

    Like (12)
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  • Cynthia
    02/17/2019
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    Yes, I support the medical use of marijuana in the VA System in states where medical marijuana is legal. It will be an important step toward responsible proper double blind studies of the effectiveness of the different strains of marijuana and the 2 primary active components, CDB and THC. IT IS TIME WE CONTINUE TO PROGRESS AND IMPROVE OUR KNOWLEDGE OF THIS IMPORTANT MEDICINAL PLANT. No individual or corporation should be able to stop the study of this substance. It is high time (no pun intended) that we continue to have intellectual curiosity about our world and add to our understanding, instead of shutting down peoples freedom and expectation that their government will study things with an open mind and help our citizens make responsible decisions regarding its use just as it does for any other medication. We left the dark ages behind, yet we still fear the dark. We should open our minds and enlighten the world with knowledge about marijuana and all its beneficial uses and its potential risks of use. If we are truly a free people, then with the knowledge gained, people should be able to make their own decisions regarding the substance as long as they do not put any other person at risk because of irresponsible use.

    Like (12)
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