House Approves Cannabis Legislation to Protect Veterans

In the past, veterans who have fought and served our country have had limited access to the full spectrum of PTSD treatment and therapy options — including medical marijuana. They have seen the worst in humanity, yet they have not always been given the best rehabilitation methods.   

Luckily the U.S. House of Representatives just passed nine amendments as part of a large-scale defense bill that includes allowing U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs doctors to issue medical marijuana. Now the House is looking for bi-partisan support from the Senate to make these drug policies a reality.   

The amendment to offer veterans medical marijuana access for PTSD treatment was pushed by ​​Reps. Earl Blumenauer’s (D-OR) and Brian Mast (R-FL). In a statement, they wrote, “VA physicians should not be denied the ability to offer a recommendation that they think may meet the needs of their patients,” they wrote. “Veterans should not be forced outside the VA system to seek treatment that is legal in their state.”

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) also secured two amendments requiring the Department of Defense to study marijuana, psilocybin, and MDMA as an opioid alternative in treating service members with post-traumatic stress disorder, traumatic brain injuries, and severe pain. 

Another big amendment introduced by Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-MI) involves the Department of Defense to ​​study the “historically discriminatory manner in which laws related to marijuana offenses have been enforced, the potential for the continued discriminatory application of the law (whether intentional or unintentional), and recommendations for actions that can be taken to minimize the risk of such discrimination.” 

These amendments come after the FDA-approved study was published in March of 2021 that revealed improvements among PTSD patients when they used cannabis. In fact, the year-long study found that test subjects who took cannabis reported a decrease in symptoms and were 2.5 times as likely to reverse their PTSD diagnosis. 

Our Veterans Deserve More 

The time has come to look out for every veteran that has served our country. We talk the talk, but now we need action. In-depth studies have shown the effectiveness of cannabis use in fighting PTSD, and more than 91% of Americans live in states where adult cannabis is legal in some forms. Yet, federal law continues to be far more stringent and hurt countless communities, including veterans. 

Hopefully, the Senate will pass this legislation; however, the Republican majority has been a severe barrier to past drug policy reform. If our politicians care as much as they say about the well-being of members from our armed forces who have sacrificed so much for our freedom, they should give our veterans the freedom to have access to the best therapy and medical treatment options available. 

We hope that all common-sense cannabis reform becomes a reality sooner than later — providing greener pastures for all Americans.

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Brendan Irving

NYC living, food-loving, music-making, and party attending writer working in the ad business for the last eight years. Actor to ad man, Brendan got his start writing comedy and sketches and performed all over NYC and the tri-state area. He is now committed to writing powerful pieces that will put a smile on any face.

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