The Department of Veterans Affairs is opposing three federal legislative proposals that would allow the VA to research medical cannabis and allow veterans access to medical cannabis products under state-approved programs, Military.com reports.
Larry Mole, chief consultant for population health at the VA, said while the Veterans Affairs Committee “can make strong proposals” for the agency “to move forward with recommendations of filling out forms and such,” ultimately the VA needs the opinion of the Drug Enforcement Agency and Department of Justice.
One bill, HR 1647, would allow VA providers to fill out the requisite forms allowing Veteran patients to participate in state-approved medical cannabis programs. That bill has been introduced every year since 2014 by Oregon Re. Earl Blumenauer, a Democrat, who said VA patients looking for relief from chronic pain and post-traumatic stress disorder overdose on opioids at almost twice the national average.
Another bill, HR 712 sponsored by California Rep. Lou Correa (D), would direct the VA to conduct clinical trials on cannabis and its effects on PTSD and chronic pain.
“It’s time to do research. It’s time for veterans to know what cannabis is good for and what cannabis is not good for.” – Correa to Military.com
The third bill, HR 2192, would prohibit the VA from denying healthcare and compensation for veterans enrolled in medical cannabis programs. Keita Franklin, the VA national director of suicide prevention, noted that the agency is participating in a trial for cannabis and PTSD but that VA physicians would be subject to criminal prosecution if they made referrals to veterans for medical cannabis access under DEA rules.
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