Military veterans in the U.S. who are in some way linked to the legal cannabis industry have faced a number of difficulties and challenges. This includes vets seeking to consume cannabis for medical purposes. Additionally, some veterans have been denied benefits for being involved with the industry. Now, a veteran in Boston was just denied a VA mortgage because he works in a fully legal Massachusetts dispensary.
Boston Veteran Denied Home Loan
The veteran’s story picked up significant public attention when the Boston Globe reported on his experience.
To date, the man’s identity has not been disclosed, as he does not want to further jeopardize his relationship with the military.
As described in the original Globe story, the veteran lives with his wife and their two children. Additionally, the couple also has a third kid on the way.
In preparation for their new child, the couple started looking for a new home in the Boston area. After searching for months, they finally found a house that would meet their needs and fit their budget.
But in order to purchase the home, the couple was relying on a guaranteed home loan program for disabled Army vets.
However, in the final days before closing on the home, the couple suddenly discovered that the VA had denied his loan application. More specifically, the VA refused to give him the loan because he is the assistant manager of a legal marijuana dispensary.
“I was actually accomplishing a lifelong goal of mine, and then to have it pulled right out from under you at the eleventh hour—I was blown away,” the veteran told the Boston Globe. “It was very frustrating and demoralizing.”
As per the Globe, VA spokespeople explained that the agency would not loan him money because doing so would violate federal law. Even more specifically, the VA said that loaning him money would amount to money laundering.
Massachusetts Lawmaker Responds to VA
Eventually. the veteran took his story to Massachusetts congresswoman Katherine Clark. She was reportedly outraged.
Eventually, Clark sent letters to the VA demanding an explanation. Additionally, she said she would on crafting new legislation that would better protect veterans and veterans’ benefits.
“We owe our veterans a great deal of gratitude,” she said. “But it cannot just be something we say. We have to do it and act on it. There had been an injustice here.”
So far, the VA has reportedly not changed its mind about the man’s loan. As a result, the vet and his wife are exploring other options for obtaining a mortgage.
Marijuana is a Source of Tension Between Vets and VA
This most recent story highlights the ongoing tensions between vets and the VA surrounding the issue of cannabis.
One of the biggest problems has to do with VA medical benefits. Specifically, the VA does not cover medical marijuana. But it does cover much more dangerous and addictive medications, most notably opioids.
As a result, many veterans are left feeling unable to access the medicine they’d prefer to use.
Similarly, vets around the country have faced challenges accessing other VA benefits. For example, an Army veteran was stripped of his pension earlier this year simply because he works for Canopy Growth, one of the largest legal cannabis companies in the world.