A new bill sponsored by Rep. Seth Moulton (D-MA) would allow VA physicians to discuss medical cannabis treatment with military veterans as patients and would protect veterans who are honest about their marijuana therapy history, revealed Marijuana Moment.
Under the proposed legislation, military veterans would no longer have to fear losing federal benefits for using medical marijuana and would be “encouraged” to talk about these types of treatments.
The main idea behind the measure is to organize current policies that allow VA doctors to discuss medical marijuana with patients, by turning them into law thereby ensuring that the policies cannot be changed or modified by new VA leaders.
The text of the bill indicates that veterans taking part in state-legal cannabis programs could not be concluded as unqualified for “care and services furnished by” the VA.
The measure still makes it clear that people are still not allowed to consume cannabis on VA property, even in states where marijuana is legalized – the provision that may change in case of federal marijuana legalization.
“Veterans are twice as likely to die from an opioid overdose than civilian Americans. This is why we need to normalize the use of medical marijuana among veterans as a safer, non-addictive alternative for chronic pain relief,” Moulton said in a press release. “Veterans chose to serve our country, and many will deal with resulting health issues for the rest of their lives. It’s our responsibility to ensure that returning service members have access to every solution that allows them to live free of pain or anxiety.”
Legitimate Alternative Treatment
The bill notes that the VA “acknowledges medical cannabis use may be a legitimate alternative treatment and a Department medical provide will not recommend a veteran for drug addiction treatment solely by reason of medicinal cannabis use.”
This means that doctors would be required to “honor the desires of their patients to seek alternative forms of treatment” – but it wouldn’t explicitly allow VA physicians to issue recommendations that veterans need to participate in state medical cannabis programs.
Under the proposal, the VA should provide its doctors with “an initial training in the use of medical cannabis” in partnership with “medical schools that have incorporated education on medical cannabis into their curricula.”
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