Congressional lawmakers on Thursday filed bipartisan legislation to legalize medical cannabis access for combat military veterans, Marijuana Moment reports.
If approved, the Veterans Medical Marijuana Safe Harbor Act would temporarily legalize medical cannabis possession for U.S. combat veterans at the federal level, if recommended by a doctor. The bill would also finally allow Veteran Affairs (VA) doctors to recommend medical cannabis treatment in states where it is available and would call for new VA research into cannabis as a treatment for chronic pain and opioid addiction. VA doctors can currently discuss medical cannabis use with veterans but are not allowed to recommend its use.
The legislation is sponsored in the House by Congressional Cannabis Caucus members Reps. Barbara Lee (D-CA) and Dave Joyce (R-OH) and nine other House members; the bill is sponsored in the Senate by Sen. Brian Schatz (D-HI) and five other lawmakers, including Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT).
“It has been scientifically proven that medical marijuana has a considerable impact in treating conditions common with veterans when they return from service, like chronic pain and PTSD. This legislation will empower veterans and their doctors to make informed decisions about the use of medical marijuana to treat chronic conditions in states with legal medical marijuana programs without federal interference.” — California Rep. Barbar Lee (D), in a statement
According to the report, earlier versions of the legislation were proposed in 2018 and 2019 but they failed to gain traction. With Democrats now in control of both Congressional bodies, however, advocates are more optimistic.
Federal lawmakers are also expected to consider a national legalization bill in the coming weeks — Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) said last month that he will introduce legislation soon to decriminalize cannabis at the federal level, allowing states to establish their own legalization policies.
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