cannabis, Department of veteran affairs, VA, veterans

Feds Say Veterans Can Use Medical Marijuana Now

The battle scarred veteran above will no longer have to take pills for his PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) as the VA (Department of Veteran Affairs) on Friday July 23, 2010 made the groundbreaking decision that Veterans will be allowed to be treated with Cannabis in any of the 14 states that currently have Medicinal Marijuana laws in place.

By accepting Cannabis marijuana as medicine the VA is the first branch of the United States Government to admit the medical efficacy of the plant. This decision will surely be pressed and quoted by cannabis activists lobbying for legalization federally.

“Unfortunately, the policy still will not permit doctors at V.A. hospitals to authorize marijuana. However, it will address the worries of many veterans who legally use cannabis that they could lose access to their prescription paid medication if caught using pot.

Under V.A. rules, veterans can be denied pain medications and other prescriptions if they are found to be using illegal drugs, which until now has included marijuana. There will now be a written exception for medical marijuana in states where it is legal.

The old policy led many patients to distrust their doctors, veterans and advocates say. With both doctors and patients asking the veterans department for formal guidance, the agency began working on a policy last fall.

“When states start legalizing marijuana we are put in a bit of a unique position because as a federal agency, we are beholden to federal law,” said Dr. Robert Jesse, the principal deputy undersecretary for health in the veterans department.

But at the same time, “We didn’t want patients who were legally using marijuana to be administratively denied access to pain management programs.”

Formalizing the rules on medical marijuana will eliminate future confusion and keep patients from being squeezed between state and federal law, according to Dr. Jesse.” (Steve Elliott)