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Veterans Groups Call For Medical Marijuana Reform

Thursday, 22 September 2016

Veterans Groups Medical Marijuana Reform

Washington, DC: Two prominent military veterans groups are demanding federal officials take steps to increase medicinal cannabis access.

At their annual convention, members of the American Legion called on Congress to remove cannabis from its schedule I classification and to promote federal research into the plant's use as a potential treatment for post-traumatic stress and traumatic brain injury. With nearly 2.5 million members, the American Legion is the largest veterans advocacy organization in the United States.

A second military veterans group, American Veterans (AMVETS), resolved at its mid-August annual meeting to "support a veteran's right to use medical cannabis therapeutically and responsibly, in states where it is legal, if prescribed by a board certified medical professional." The group has some 250,000 members.

Under federal law, VA doctors are not permitted to recommend cannabis therapy to veterans, even if they reside in states that permit medical marijuana. In May, majorities in both the US House and Senate voted to include language in the 2017 Military Construction, Veterans Affairs and Related Agencies Appropriations bill to permit VA doctors to recommend cannabis therapy. However, Republicans sitting on the House Appropriations Committee decided in June to remove the language from the bill during a concurrence vote. At present, the fiscal year 2017 funding bill still remains pending before Congress.

Clinical trials to assess the safety and efficacy of cannabis in the treatment of PTSD are ongoing in both the United States and in Canada.

For more information, please contact Paul Armentano, NORML Deputy Director, at: paul@norml.org.