Senate Votes in Favor of Marijuana Law Reform for Veterans
May 27th, 2015
Policy, Top News
The Senate Appropriations Committee passed a bipartisan amendment last week that will permit the Veterans Administration’s (“VA”) doctors to recommend medical marijuana to patients in states where the drug has been legalized. As an addition to a must-pass military construction and veterans affairs spending bill, it’s certain to pass on the Senate floor and be written into law when it goes up for debate later this year.
The narrow 18 to 12 vote in favor of medical marijuana represents the first time that the U.S. Senate has ever moved marijuana law reform forward. Many veterans see the vote as a major victory in restoring first amendment rights within the VA, while promoting a safe and open dialog between providers and patients. In effect, veterans will now be treated like any other resident in states where medical marijuana has been legalized.
Currently, the VA prohibits its doctors from completing forms brought by patients seeking recommendations for medical marijuana. Interestingly, numerous other federal healthcare programs, like Medicare and Medicaid, are permitted to recommend medical marijuana to patients. These dynamics are particularly surprising given that many veterans struggle with PTSD – a condition that medical marijuana has been shown to help.
A 2014 study of people with PTSD showed a greater than 75% reduction in severity of symptoms when patients were using medical marijuana to treat their illness compared to when they were not. Medical marijuana has also shown efficacy in treating traumatic brain injury and other common wartime ailments that many veterans face on a regular basis. In 2002, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals also upheld the right for physicians to recommend the drug.
The Compassionate Access, Research Expansion, and Respect States Act (“CARERS”) has also been proposed as the first-ever bill in the U.S. Senate to legalize marijuana for medical use. With the Appropriations Committee approving parts of the bill, supporters believe that the Senate Judiciary Committee should hold a hearing on the full bill now. These shifts could help set the stage for further policy changes in the near future, too.
This article was published by CFN Enterprises Inc. (OTCQB: CNFN), owner and operator of CFN Media, the industry’s leading agency and digital financial media network dedicated to the burgeoning CBD and legal cannabis industries. Call +1 (833) 420-CNFN for more information.
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