The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) must urgently institute a policy change to ensure that military veterans can access cannabis for therapeutic use, a bipartisan coalition of congressional lawmakers said in a news letter. Writing to VA Secretary Denis McDonough on Wednesday, the co-chairs of the Congressional Cannabis Caucus urged the official to consider “a change in policy to allow access to medical cannabis for VA patients” and to “act swiftly and implement this change as soon as possible.” The lawmakers pointed to surveys showing high rates of opioid addiction and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) among the veteran community. “Research has shown that cannabis can be safe and effective in targeted pain management. Additionally, cannabis has proven benefits in managing PTSD and other health issues, including multiple sclerosis (MS) and seizure disorders,” the letter states. “Despite its efficacy, antiquated bureaucratic red-tape continues to deny veterans these life-altering treatments.” “Congress and several administrations have enacted various well-intentioned intervention attempts, however, over twenty veterans continue to die by suicide each day—it is past time we stop barring access from these innovative therapies. We therefore respectfully urge you to ensure no veteran can be denied medically prescribed cannabis treatments.” The letter comes weeks after McDonough participated in a Veterans Day Q&A where he said that VA officials are “looking at” the possibility of an internal policy change and have discussed it with the White House and Department of Justice. The secretary also talked about being personally moved by stories from veterans who’ve found relief using medical marijuana.
Kyle Jaeger, Marijuana Moment, 12/01/2021 15:00:00