On the eve of Veteran’s Day, the Senate approved the amendment to the Veterans Affair Act which allows veterans access to medical marijuana programs in their state. Up until now, veterans have not been allowed to participate in medical marijuana programs and doctors who work for the Department of Veterans Affairs have been disallowed from recommending marijuana as medicine.
This change gives veterans back their basic human right to consume marijuana for medicine, especially if it is legally available in their state.
The language that was added to the Veterans Affair Act more specifically states that the funds delegated to Veterans Affair are not to be spent in a way that interferes with the medical marijuana program. The language of the amendment appears like this:
Sec. 246. None of the funds appropriated or otherwise made available to the Department of Veterans Affairs in this Act may be used in a manner that would–
(1) interfere with the ability of a veteran to participate in a State-approved medicinal marijuana program;
(2) deny any services from the Department to a veteran who is participating in such a program; or
(3) limit or interfere with the ability of a health care provider of the Department to make appropriate recommendations, fill out forms, or take steps to comply with such a program.
Up until this amendment took place, medical practitioners were prohibited from completing paperwork submitted by patients to participate in a medical marijuana program. Furthermore, doctors were also prohibited from recommending marijuana to patients as a medical product. However, now veterans are also not to be punished for their use of medical marijuana.
Even though there are many other public medical systems, such as Medicare and Medicaid but the VA is the only organization who prohibits doctors from recommending medical marijuana. Since this amendment, all public medical organizations will be on the side of medical marijuana in states where it is legal.
“Veterans in medical marijuana states should be treated the same as any other resident, and should be able to discuss marijuana with their doctor. It makes no sense that a veteran can’t use medical marijuana if it helps them and it is legal in their state.” said Michael Collins, who is the deputy director of national affairs for the Drug Policy Alliance.
There is no logical reason why veterans should not be allowed access to medical marijuana other than the federal government’s bias on the marijuana situation. It seems the federal government did not want their veterans to be associated with the marijuana plant, given its position on marijuana legalization.
However, as citizens of a state, veterans are entirely eligible to participate on the programs that are legal in that state, such as medical marijuana. The opportunity to use marijuana as a medicine, which is a basic human right of all people, should not be taken away simply because they are veterans.