After lawmakers ran out of time to fully consider the idea last session, the Joint Committee on Cannabis Policy on Tuesday revived its consideration of legislation that seeks to make medical marijuana more accessible to disabled veterans. Testifying in favor once again was Stephen Mandile, an Army veteran, Uxbridge selectman and longtime medical marijuana advocate who said he used cannabis to end a decade of addiction to opioids prescribed to treat pain from injuries he sustained in Iraq in 2005. A string of other veterans and cannabis activists also touted the bill at Tuesday’s hearing. The bill (H 179 / S 70) filed by Rep. Michael Soter and Sen. Ryan Fattman would essentially expand the current eligibility criteria for medical marijuana and also create a way that disabled veterans who receive their health care at a federal Veterans Administration facility — and whose doctors, therefore, cannot legally recommend a medical marijuana prescription — could become eligible. While anyone 21 or older can buy non-medical marijuana in Massachusetts, registered medical marijuana patients do not have to pay the effective 20 percent tax that is levied on non-medical sales, have access to higher THC dosages for edible products, and can receive discounts from retailers and dispensaries. Under Soter’s bill, veterans who get their care at the VA could be considered qualifying patients under the state’s medical marijuana law without receiving a diagnosis from a registered physician if they provide their Veterans Administration award letter “indicating an existing disability” to the Cannabis Control Commission. Soter said Illinois and North Dakota already accept VA paperwork in lieu of a doctor’s recommendation.

Author, Weed World Magazine, 06/30/2021 20:00:00

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