Veterans’ Marijuana Safe Harbor Act

A bill was recently introduced to the U.S. Senate that would legalize marijuana for military veterans by allowing VA physicians to prescribe medical cannabis to patients in states where marijuana is legal, and would call for up to $15 million in funds to be set aside to support research on the potential benefits for use in patients.

The Oregon Cannabis Connection reported that the bill was introduced on September 5 by two Democrat senators—Bill Nelson of Florida and Brian Schatz of Hawaii. 

“Federal law prohibits VA doctors from prescribing or recommending medical marijuana to veterans,” Nelson said in a press release. “This legislation will allow veterans the same access to legitimately prescribed medication, just as any other patient in those 31 states would have.”

“Our veterans deserve to have that same chance,” added Senator Schatz. “This bill does right by our veterans, and it can also shed light on how medical marijuana can help with the nation’s opioid epidemic.”

The legislation’s fine print reads: “Marijuana and its compounds show promise for treating a wide range of diseases and disorders, including pain management. Medical marijuana in states where it is legal may serve as a less harmful alternative to opioids in treating veterans.”

The OCC also reported notable statistics from the American Legion describing just how much veterans depend on cannabis. A recent poll conducted by the conservative organization reported that 92% of all veterans support research on medical cannabis, and that 79% of veterans ages 60 or over and 82% of all veteran households support legalizing the drug for medical use, even though 60% of those surveyed do not live in states where medical pot is legal.

Norml.com applauded the legislation, citing a 2017 review of over ten thousand studies conducted by the National Academy of Sciences that concluded the following: “There is conclusive or substantial evidence that cannabis and cannabinoids are effective for the treatment of chronic pain in adults.”

By Kiki Genoa

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