“We have now 36 states that have medical cannabis, and our veterans want to know from their VA doctor what their thoughts are on the pros and cons or appropriate role or challenges of this particular strategy for treating a variety of issues, including PTSD. I think it’s really important that we not force our veterans to be unable to discuss this issue with their doctors.” Oregon Senator Jeff Merkley.
There are a lot of tragedies caused by the war on cannabis and one is the lack of access provided to military veterans who could benefit from medical cannabis recommended by their doctor, especially with so many vets suffering from post-traumatic stress. A suicide epidemic has been raging for far too long among those that sacrificed for our nation and VA physicians have been denied the ability to recommend medical cannabis to their patients. Oregon Senator Jeff Merkley is hoping to change that and he’s well on his way after an amendment that he’s championed has passed a key Senate committee as Marijuana Moment reported:
“A powerful Senate committee on Wednesday approved an amendment that’s meant to promote military veterans’ access to medical marijuana by allowing doctors at the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to issue cannabis recommendations in legal states.
“The measure, sponsored by Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-OR), passed in the Senate Appropriations Committee on a voice vote. It would further prohibit VA from interfering with, or denying services to, veterans who participate in a state-legal medical cannabis program.”
It seems common sense that doctors operating within a state with legal cannabis would be able to recommend a relatively safe medicine to their patients, but when it comes to Reefer Madness prohibition, common sense has too often been ignored. With the political climate catching up to the science, we are finally seeing progress in Congress and it will be heartening to see former service members have state-legal medical options available to them.
While there’s much more work to be done to see this amendment in a final bill, making it through the Senate Appropriations Committee is an important step in the process. Merkley’s work demonstrates the importance of Oregon’s pioneering work battling the War on Drugs. There is no way that a sitting United States senator goes alone on an issue without the strong backing of his constituents. Regardless of your party affiliation, it’s imperative that we continue to help lead the way on ending the failed and harmful Drug War. Time and time again, we have seen Oregon helping lead the way on much-needed cannabis and drug policy reforms, going back to 1973 when the Beaver State was the first to decriminalize cannabis. With Oregonians legalizing psilocybin therapy and decriminalizing personal drug possession in 2020, we can expect our representatives in DC to continue pushing the envelope in our fight for freedom and common sense.
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