The largest veteran’s group in the country is the American Legion with over two million veterans as members. They weighed in on medical marijuana last week. They requested the Trump administration alter regulations to let doctors at the Veterans Hospitals talk about marijuana. The legion members want doctors to be able to speak with their patients about using the drug as a choice for some of the many conditions veterans face. The group of veterans suggested in their communication with the President’s administration that medical pot be permitted to be used. Starting in states where it is legal.
The current regulations for Veterans Administration Hospital doctors are forbidden from talking to veterans about medical marijuana. The group suggests that current Federal laws would not need to be changed. In order to permit these doctors treating veterans to approach this subject for use in treatment.
American Legion director of media relations Joe Plenzler said they are going after getting permission for use of medical marijuana. Along with any treatment choices that has evidence based therapy. These therapies that may make the lives of veterans better. Mr. Plenzler said there is significant evidence with the use of medical marijuana used for therapy. He said the studies and other evidence show that medical marijuana works better some diseases.
The American Legion spokesman said that some of the conditions affecting veterans in large numbers include the commonly heard of post-traumatic stress disorder and opioid addiction. But there are other conditions not often realized by the public veterans suffer like night terrors and chronic pain. Some veterans have found relief with medical pot. But they had to go outside of the VA system to obtain this type of treatment with civilian doctors.
The American Legion has advocated in the past for medical marijuana. After a resolution passed last year within the members to ask the federal government to remove marijuana from the list of Schedule I drugs. Being listed in this schedule it still has some of the harshest penalties under the law but they also wanted it to have privately funded medical marijuana research. This research would be on the medical properties of marijuana. The American Legion sent a letter to President Trump’s administration in May. The letter requested it be permitted to do the clinical research of cannabinoid receptors. Recently some lawmakers and a senate budget committee approved a bill that will let VA doctors give patients a documentation needed to get medical marijuana in states where it is legal from a civilian doctor. This legislation included nine Republicans supporting the measure.
This could be a difficult hurdle for the veterans with the President’s administration stand on legalizing the drug. Though, the American Legion points to a comment by VA Secretary David Shulkin made. It involved the possibility in the future of veteran’s use of medical marijuana prescribed by the VA. In a White House briefing, Dr. Shulkin said that with some states using regulations that work there may be some evidence the drug is becoming helpful. He continued to say they are interested in taking a look at medical marijuana and learning from the regulations. The main thing he said is that the VA would not be able to prescribe the drug until the law changes. He then commented even though it may be helpful for medical conditions.