It really is a revolting dilemma that the U.S. government puts our military veterans in. And no better time to point it out than during this last week when we observed the Veterans Day holiday.
As it stands, doctors in the VA Hospital system are forbidden from providing the paperwork that’s necessary for military veterans to get access to medical cannabis.
So that means, either the vets must accept the litany of prescription drugs that are laid on them by the VA doctors OR a vet needs to put in the time and expense to get a medical card if they’re in a state where medical cannabis is legal.
And it gets pricey… I’m in Florida and it costs about $300 to get and keep a medical card… and that’s what you have to do before even buying cannabis. And if a vet is not in a legal state, then they have to procure cannabis from the black market, which makes them lawbreakers.
There’s been research done on veterans and cannabis. One survey showed that 75 percent of military vets “would be interested in using cannabis or cannabinoid products as a treatment option if they were available.”
Other research shows that vets are turning more-and-more to medical cannabis as an effective alternative to opioids and other conventional medications. One review reported a greater than 75% reduction in PTSD symptoms following treatment with cannabis.
A survey by the American Legion showed that nearly 1 in 4 vets self-reported using cannabis to alleviate a medical or physical condition.
In order for vets to get their cannabis medicine at no cost through the VA Health care system, cannabis has to be legalized at the federal level. And until that happens, the hands of VA doctors are tied – even those docs who are sympathetic to the plight of veterans who want cannabis instead of pharmaceuticals.
In Congress there is bipartisan legislation to allow the VA to give access to cannabis to military vets, but it hasn’t gone anywhere, yet. And in previous sessions of Congress, majorities in both the U.S. House and Senate voted to include it in an Appropriations bill.
However, Republicans on the committee later voted it down. That’s a head shaker… because Republicans generally back a strong military so what does this say about those brave men and women who put on the uniform to defend this nation’s freedoms?
As NORML – the national organization for the reform of marijuana laws puts it: “It is the height of hypocrisy that veterans return as civilians only to be labeled criminals and be denied the health care options they need.”
It’s a sorry state that these lawmakers won’t step up and do the right thing. In fact, you can go to NORML’s website, NORML.org (under the “Take Action” tab) to send a letter to your lawmakers to urge them to support the current legislation.
Do you have some thoughts on this situation? Maybe you have a vet in your life who is struggling or maybe you are a vet who is struggling. Drop down to the comments section and let me know your thoughts on this.
I’m Becca Williams, and I you to lead your most magnificent life and I want to help you do that!