New Bill Would Allow the VA to Recommend Medical Marijuana for Patients

Arguing that medical marijuana may help wounded warriors with anxiety and stress disorders to “survive and thrive,” Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore.) and Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-Calif.) have introduced legislation that would allow Department of Veterans Affairs’ doctors to recommend the drug for some patients.

The Veterans Equal Access Act and would challenge the VA’s policy that forbids doctors from consulting about medical pot use. Earlier this month, The Washington Post reported about the issue.

“We should be allowing these wounded warriors access to the medicine that will help them survive and thrive, including medical marijuana, not treating them like criminals and forcing them into the shadows,” said Blumenauer in a statement.

The federal government classifies marijuana as a Schedule I drug, the same as heroin and LSD, deeming that it has no accepted medical use and a high potential for abuse. That means that VA, which runs the largest network of hospitals and health clinics in the country, cannot prescribe pot as a treatment, even for veterans who live in a state where medical marijuana is legal. VA says that its physicians and chronic-pain specialists “are prohibited from recommending and prescribing medical marijuana for PTSD or other pain-related issues.”

Medical staff are also prohibited from completing paperwork required to enroll in state marijuana programs because they are “federal employees who must comply with federal law,” said Gina Jackson, a VA spokeswoman.

– Read the entire article at The Washington Post.