Military veterans would be “encouraged” to discuss medical marijuana treatment without the fear of losing federal benefits under a new bill being sponsored by Rep. Seth Moulton (D-MA).
The main thrust of the legislation is to codify existing policies that allow VA doctors to talk about medical cannabis with patients as well as protections for veterans who are candid about their history with marijuana treatment. By doing so, it would enshrine these polices into law so that they could not later be changed administratively by future VA leaders.
Veterans participating in state-legal cannabis programs could not be rendered ineligible for “care and services furnished by” the VA, the text of the bill states.
The legislation does stipulate, however, that people could not use or consume marijuana on VA property, even in states where marijuana is legal—thought that section of the proposal would be repealed if federal prohibition is ultimately lifted.
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“Veterans are twice as likely to die from an opioid overdose than civilian Americans. This is why we need to normalize the use of medical marijuana among veterans as a safer, non-addictive alternative for chronic pain relief,” Moulton said in a press release. “Veterans chose to serve our country, and many will deal with resulting health issues for the rest of their lives. It’s our responsibility to ensure that returning service members have access to every solution that allows them to live free of pain or anxiety.”
Under the proposal, VA practitioners would be required to “honor the desires of their patients to seek alternative forms of treatment”—but the measure would not explicitly allow doctors at the department to issue recommendations that veterans need to participate in state medical cannabis laws as would be the case under separate, previously filed legislation,
Veterans are twice as likely to die from an opioid overdose than civilian Americans.
Today, I introduced legislation that would destigmatize the use of medical marijuana among veterans as a safer, non-addictive alternative for chronic pain & anxiety. https://t.co/eMPFr0VSUX
— Rep. Seth Moulton (@RepMoulton) March 8, 2022
VA “acknowledges medical cannabis …….