Congress Members Urge VA to Change Medical Marijuana Policy

In a letter to Veterans Affairs Secretary Robert McDonald released Wednesday, a bipartisan group of U.S. Senate and House members urged the Department of Veterans Affairs to allow VA doctors to write medical marijuana recommendations to veterans in accordance with state laws.

The letter comes four days before the expiration of a directive that prohibits VA doctors from recommending medical marijuana, even in states that have made it legal.

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand

The Congressional members, led by Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Steve Daines (R-MT), and Jeff Merkley (D-OR) in the Senate and Earl Blumenauer (D-OR), Dina Titus (D-NV), and Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA) in the House, say the current policy “disincentivizes doctors and patients from being honest with each other,” noting, “It is not in the veterans’ best interest for the VA to interfere with the doctor-patient relationship.”

“Congress has taken initial steps to alleviate this conflict in law and we will continue to work toward this goal,” the senators and representatives wrote. “However, you are in a position to make this change when the current VHA directive expires at the end of this month. We ask that you act to ensure that our veterans’ access to care is not compromised and that doctors and patients are allowed to have honest discussions about treatment options.”

The letter also highlights the “sea change in the legal framework surrounding marijuana in the United States” since the directive was issued in 2011. Comprehensive medical marijuana laws have been adopted in 23 states and Washington, D.C., and Congress has twice approved appropriations amendments intended to prevent the federal government from interfering with state medical marijuana programs.


4 responses to “Congress Members Urge VA to Change Medical Marijuana Policy”

  1. In Massachusetts the mmj system should include veterans. Why should they not get the medicine that qualifies them to use medical marijuana. After serving our country, I think we owe it to our veterans !!!! Ptsd, depression, anxiety, and so many more conditions, and life’s will be saved . They did not have these problems when they left for their missions to protect and serve all of us. So we the people want them to get better, and to not have to deal with the stigma that’s surrounds this issue. Please give our veterans a chance, they so deserve to be treated with respect and dignity for they (the veterans) are the ones who most suffer from many diseases too. Let’s work together quickly so our veterans have the same accessibility to mmj just like other patients do . Safe access to medical marijuana for our Veterans. Thank you

  2. The VA can’t even take of Veterans. To think they have anyone (including the fraud currently running the VA, Secretary Robert McDonald) is ludicrous. And the VA does not want to give up pushing it’s (outdated and non-effective) prescriptions. FRAUD is rampant as is arrogance and ignorance! They still can’t get the CHOICE PROGRAM to work!

  3. I have to agree, but from a position of being a disabled veteran myself it is all the more important. I’m pushing for the laws to change in Mississippi to include medical marijuana for anxiety and ptsd. Honestly I think it should just be legalized across the board, but I think Mississippians may need more time on that one. It’s stupid that I can get prescribed all these synthetic drugs for anxiety and insomnia, but a simple natural plant is inaccessible legally and safely.

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