Congress approves military vet-related marijuana bills

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Service members finally get some good news from Capitol Hill

The House Veterans Affairs Committee finally decided on the two pending bills that were designed to bring help and relief to the military veterans. Both bills were approved, and this action represents the first cannabis-related bill that is on the course of becoming law this year. One of the bills would allow doctors to prescribe medical marijuana to patients currently residing in a state with a cannabis legislation. The second bill paves the way for clinical trials to be performed to test the efficacy of a cannabis treatment in patients with post-traumatic stress disorder, chronic pain and other health conditions.

“We have been working for years to give veterans the opportunity to receive legal, medical cannabis treatment for chronic pain and PTSD,” Representative Earl Blumenauer, who introduced the first bill, told The Fresh Toast. “Even though this has been approved on the floor of the House in the past as an amendment to appropriations bills, it’s been stonewalled by Senate Republican leadership. This is the way forward to guarantee it becomes the law of the land.”

The current situation with veterans is that they do have access to medical marijuana, but in order to do so, they would need to go outside of the Veterans Affairs (VA) network and pay for the expenses with their own money. According to VA since marijuana is to date a Schedule I drug, the agency will continue to follow the lead set by the Drug Enforcement Agency and the Department of Justice.

Marijuana advocates also referred to the matter. “Passing these bills should be the first order of business for a Congress that prides itself on supporting our veterans,” said Don Murphy, director of federal policies at the Marijuana Policy Project. “Like every American, veterans should be granted the freedom to access cannabis to treat their medical conditions as an alternative to potentially dangerous pharmaceuticals.”