The House Veterans’ Affairs Committee has unanimously voted to advance a measure to allow the Department of Veterans Affairs to research medical cannabis, according to a Stars and Stripes report. The bi-partisan measure was introduced last month by the committee’s ranking Democrat, Rep. Tim Walz, and Republican committee chairman Rep. Phil Roe, who is also a physician.
“I’m keenly aware of need for VA to critically examine possible new treatments that could benefit veteran patients. Like many of us on this dais, I’ve heard from many veterans who believe medical cannabis can help them lead healthy lives. Right now, we don’t know if that’s true or not, and that’s why we believe the VA should conduct rigorous research on medical cannabis just like any other medication or treatment.” – Roe to Stars and Stripes
When he introduced the measure, Walz, who is running for governor of Minnesota, said that “22 percent of veterans report using cannabis as a safer and more effective alternative to opioids and drug cocktails currently prescribed by the VA for medical conditions such as [post-traumatic stress disorder] and chronic pain.” Also stated: Another 92 percent of veterans support medical cannabis research.
“Even if you don’t think cannabis is useful, our veterans deserve to know for sure.” – Walz to Stars and Stripes
The bill requires the agency to report its progress on the issue to Congress; although it does not mandate that the agency conduct the studies.
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