It is quite shocking that for a long time medical marijuana has been denied to US war veterans. Veterans who smoked marijuana were denied access to some of their other benefits. Which essentially meant that many had to choose between money to eat or access to the best medical supplement on the planet. The fight has been ongoing for years, and it was silly that even in states where medical marijuana was legal veterans would lose well-earned privileges.
Medical Marijuana for Vets
Thankfully the situation is all changed due to recent legislation. In June, the military veterans were finally allowed to obtain medical marijuana recommendations through the Department of Veteran Affairs. The battle has been hard fought (both one them, it could be said), but it seems that veterans have finally gained access to medical marijuana. According to the chairperson of the group Marijuana Majority:
“The growing level of support for marijuana law reform in Congress is extremely encouraging, especially in light of concerning comments and opposition from the attorney general.This is just the first of what will likely be a series of cannabis votes on Capitol Hill this year, and we expect to continue seeing strong bipartisan margins in support of scaling back federal prohibition.That’s because a growing number of senators and House members represent constituents who have voted at the ballot box to enact new marijuana laws that stand in stark contrast to outdated federal laws. The war on marijuana is ending, and today’s vote is clear indication of that”
Cannabis has been proven to be particularly helpful for those dealing with PTSD, and is actually the best available treatment for PTSD. There are a number of organizations who support marijuana for veterans and they have been campaigning for years to make this a reality, which finally appears to be happening. The implications of the amendment by the U.S. Senate Appropriations Committee allows vets to participate in state medical marijuana programs without losing their license. This will mean that war veterans are going to flock to states where medical marijuana programs are in place. The biggest difference politically seems to be that Republicans who were traditionally voting no to marijuana seem to be coming around to the idea, either due to more awareness or simply because of the fact that it will earn them more votes come election time.
A Dogmatic Political Stance
The growth in pro marijuana support among legislative officials is very encouraging and bodes well for the future of marijuana. The reference to the Attorney General in the above quote points to the dogmatic stance taken by AG Jeff Sessions, who has made a number of controversial statements with regard to the regulation of marijuana. Marijuana is still illegal at the Federal level and there is currently a bizarre situation where it is legal in many states and illegal at the Federal level. The result is that you can grow and smoke marijuana, yet you could also be thrown in jail for it. Marijuana cannot be sent by post between two adjacent states where it is legal in each.
Thankfully, after much public backlash, Sessions seems to have backed down from his radical approach to cracking down on marijuana. His claims that marijuana was a gateway drug to hard drugs is refuted by many recent research studies, which indicate that marijuana actually acts as a gateway away from opioids and other addictive drugs. President Trump and other politicians do not appear to share the views and ideals of AG Sessions who is viewed as far too traditional and simply out of touch with the American people. Trump did state on the campaign trail that for people who are very, very sick, marijuana can be quite helpful.
Federal law prevented doctors from prescribing marijuana to veterans in the past, and many vets wrongfully lost their entitlements for being caught with marijuana to ease their burdens. It was a woefully unjust situation, that people who lost their mental wellness along with their limbs and any chance of a normal life had been denied access to a simple plant. At long last, this wrong is now being righted. A much bigger question is who has been suppressing and demonizing this plant for so long, and why was it illegal in pretty much every country. Within 15 years there will likely be global mass legalization, and it does seem strange that “all of the sudden” the whole political world suddenly saw the light and decided to legalize. At least it is finally legal and veterans at long last have access to badly needed treatment.