American Legion’s National Commander Calls Out VA Secretary Shulkin

legion_displayFor more than a year, The American Legion has been calling on the federal government – and specifically the Veterans Affairs Department – to support research into the therapeutic benefits of cannabis in treating veterans with PTSD.

Many veterans, especially Iraq and Afghanistan combat veterans, have told both the Legion and NORML that they have been able to eliminate or reduce their dependency on other drugs, specifical opioids.

Now, the Legion is ramping up their efforts to convince VA Secretary Shulkin to expand research into the therapeutic and medicinal effects of cannabis.

In a letter sent yesterday and released publicly today, they state:

Dear Mr. Secretary:

For more than a year, the American Legion has called on the federal government to support and enable scientific research to clinically confirm the medicinal value of cannabis. The National Academy of Medicine recently reviewed 10,000 scientific abstracts on the therapeutic value of cannabis and reached nearly 100 conclusions in a report issued earlier this year. As a two million member strong veteran service organization, our primary interest and advocacy is grounded in the wellbeing and improved health of our veterans, and specifically our service disabled veterans.

The American Legion supports VA’s statutory medical research million and has donated millions of dollars toward expanding VA’s scientific research. VA innovation is widely championed for its breakthrough discoveries in medicine and has been recognized over the years with three Nobel Prizes for scientific work that has benefitted the world over.

Your immediate attention in this important matter is greatly appreciated. We ask for your direct involvement to ensure this critical research is fully implemented.

Denise H. Rohan
National Commander

This comes just one month after the Legion adopted a resolution calling on federal officials to expand veterans’ access to medical marijuana.

NORML has documented the longitudinal data on how cannabis access is associated with reduced rates of opioid use and abuse, opioid-related hospitalizations, opioid-related traffic fatalities, and opioid-related overdose deaths

You can read the full letter to VA urging cannabis research access here.

Click here to send a message to your federal officials in support of HR 1820, the bipartisan Veterans Equal Access Act introduced by Congressional Cannabis Caucus Co-Chair Earl Blumenauer

Earlier this year, a budget amendment that reflected the Veterans Equal Access Act’s language was introduced by Senator Daines (R-MT) and passed in the Senate Appropriations Committee and introduced by Rep. Blumenauer and blocked in the House Rules Committee. The amendments fate will likely be decided in a joint conference committee later this year.

8 thoughts

  1. Btw, the last message on Sessions and Rosenstein, I forgot my name, this is Matt.

    Thank you. And stay vigilant. Many months have passed, but we are still under attack.


  2. No more delays. Legalize now, and join a greater future. Enough of this. Legalize now. No more delays. M The first step to “making America GREAT again….” is joining our reality.

    The first step to making America Great Again is realizing we live with others.



  3. The American Legion knows what’s good for its members and this open letter is proof of that. Glad they’re calling it the way they see it. Our veterans have put their lives on the line for our way of life and now their medical needs are being sidelined by politicians? Enough is enough. Allow those who need it the access they require.

  4. Thanks for the links and prescripted letters. Done. People feel free to add courteous education and personalization to these scripts. Call and write and visit and ask for evidence and official replies always.

  5. As a retired VA psychologist, I believe medical marijuana can help some veterans experiencing PTSD. It is ludicrous to argue against medical marijuana for PTSD on the grounds that no research exist proving it is not harmful when for years and years the VA hospital system was the world’s largest tax free outlet for the sale of tobacco cigarettes at the same time tobacco smoking was and still is the greatest single cause of premature death and disability among its patients!

    The most recent US Surgeon General’s Report on Smoking and Health states over the last 50 years more than 20 million Americans have died because of tobacco smoking. Many of those who died from tobacco smoking were veterans. Over much of this period of time tons of evidence existed proving the deadly effects of tobacco smoking on veterans yet discounted tobacco cigarettes were still sold in VA hospital canteens. Compare the VA selling the greatest single killer of its patients while vigorously blocking research on medical marijuana despite the lack of credible evidence marijuana ever killed anyone. Yes, big money does mean big influence in the VA and for that reason we should not be surprised every effort will be made to block research on medical marijuana. But, the reality is medical marijuana can help some veterans with PTSD and for that reason is will eventually become one of its established treatments.

    Harold Dawley, Ph.D.
    Past President, American Psychological Association Division of Psychologists in Public Service
    Past President, National Association of Veterans Affairs Psychologists
    Member, American Legion

  6. For decades tobacco was considered a “performance enhancing drug” for those whose mission was to kill and destroy (for our country of course). It helped snipers stay awake and alert watching for targets to shoot at. It anaesthetized the boredom of infinite obedience doing nothing nothing nothing while on guard against everything.
    Easy to see why cannabis antagonizes every0ne and everything militory. It sponsors and prompts an uprush of sudden memories of things to do instead of the nothing you’ve been commanded to do.

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