In a landmark decision the US Senate voted to allow VA doctors to recommend medical marijuana to patients living in states where it's been legalized.
WASHINGTON, DC – In a landmark decision the US Senate voted to allow VA doctors to recommend medical marijuana to patients living in states where it’s been legalized. This is the first time the U.S. Senate has moved forward with marijuana law reform. In a 18 to 12 vote The United States Senate Appropriations Committee passed this bipartisan amendment. The Veterans Equal Access Amendment was sponsored by Republican Senator Steve Daines of Montana and Democratic Senator Jeff Merkley of Oregon. The amendment was added to a must-pass military construction and VA spending bill. The bill is expected to pass on the Senate floor.
This is great news for veterans, currently doctor’s with the VA are specifically prohibited from discussing or providing recommendations in states where marijuana has been approved for medicinal use. The VA has gone as far to deny veterans access to treatment for using marijuana. Out of all the federal healthcare programs the VA is the only one that prohibits doctor’s discussing the benefits of medical marijuana. Medicare recipients are free to discuss the uses of marijuana in their treatment, while our returning veterans lack the same rights. In 2002, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed in Conant v. Walters protecting physicians rights to recommend medical marijuana regardless of legality under federal law. The Daines/Merkley amendment not only supports our first amendment right it but also returns us to a healthy doctor/patient relationship.
Below is a list of Senators that showed they would much rather our veterans suffer than help provide them with relief that works. If you see one of your representatives on this list please ensure you are reaching out to them and let them know your stance on this situation.
- Thad Cochran (Mississippi)
- Mitch McConnell (Kentucky)
- Richard Shelby (Alabama)
- Susan Collins (Maine)
- Lindsey Graham (South Carolina)
- Mark Kirk (Illinois)
- Roy Blunt (Missouri)
- Jerry Moran (Kansas)
- John Hoeven (North Dakota)
- Shelley Moore Capito (West Virginia)
- John Boozman (Arkansas)
- James Lankford (Oklahoma)
Last year alone the U.S. House voted five times in favor of letting states set their own policies regarding marijuana. In one amendment, it moves to prohibit the Justice Department from spending money during Fiscal Year 2015, to undermine states medical marijuana laws, this made it to the final spending bill signed by President Obama. 2015 is looking to be a big year for medical marijuana. In March of this year, Senators Cory Booker (D-NJ), Rand Paul (R-KY), and Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), introduced The Compassionate Access, Research Expansion and Respect States (CARERS) Act. This bill is the first in the history of the U.S. Senate to legalize medical marijuana use and is the most comprehensive bill ever introduced to Congress. This bill has generated a strong interest, with the approval of one element of the bill, now is the time for the Senate Judiciary Committee to review the full bill.
There are currently 7 states with pending legislation or ballot measures to legalize medical marijuana, another 11 states have failed to pass this legislation in 2015. States like Georgia, Tennessee, and Virgina have made moves to support medical marijuana while not legalizing it’s use, in these states there has been great support for low THC, high CBD based oils and medicines. High CBD, low THC based medicines help provide the medicinal releief while eliminating the psychoactive effects provided by THC.
While the Federal government still claims that marijuana has no medicinal value as seen by it’s Schedule I classification given in 1970. Multiple studies done by the National Institute of Health have shown otherwise. In 2014 one study showed a greater than 75% decrease in symptoms associated with PTSD when patients were using cannabis. Additional studies in mice and rats have shown that cannabis or cannabinoids may inhibit tumor growth, protect against inflammation of the colon, kill cancer cells, stimulate appetite, and provide pain relief.
We have the Surgeon General Vivek Murthy announcing on national television that “marijuana can be helpful” in the treatment of various medical conditions. While the Attorney General’s office has done nothing to force a change in marijuana laws.
Support in this country for medical marijuana has been growing. As more people are made aware of hits tremendous healing properties support has been at an all time high. Dr. Sue Sisley has been a strong advocate for pushing more research into the treatment of PTSD with medical marijuana. She was fired last year from the University of Arizona, likely due to her proposed federally approved research into the treatment of PTSD with medical marijuana. This has badly delayed much needed research.
As a veteran I understand first hand what this medicine is capable of. I was able to get away from the pharmaceutical poisons the VA was “treating” us with. I’ve spoken with other veterans that have had the same exact results. Some have told me of being able to get off upwards to 15 different prescriptions. I strongly recommend getting in contact with your local NORML chapters, this organization is on the front lines of legalization for both medicinal and recreational use and can use all the help we can give. I encourage everyone to help spread this knowledge and the amazing benefits this plant provides. I love sharing my story with other veterans, it shows them another way that they may have not been exposed to. When we make our voices heard we can illicit real change. Marijuana is one of the most versatile medicines on this planet. Has anyone else had the same results, if so please share your story with us in the comments.
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