Veterans can get medical marijuana thanks to a new amendment passed by the Senate. The amendment was part of a larger bill called the 2017 Military Construction, Veterans Affairs and Related Agencies bill.
There’s been a lot of talk in recent months about veterans and medical marijuana. Veterans who receive healthcare through Veterans Affairs (VA) haven’t been able to get medical marijuana even if they live in a state where it’s legal.
That’s because VA doctors have not been allowed to even talk about medical marijuana with their patients.
But there’s been a lot of push back against that rule.
Last November, the Senate tried to pass an amendment that would have allowed VA doctors to recommend medical marijuana to their patients. It was eventually stripped from the final law.
Then in January of this year lawmakers wrote a letter to VA Secretary Bob McDonald urging him to change the VA’s rules. In the letter, lawmakers said it was time to allow VA doctors to recommend medical marijuana to their patients.
And now, it seems like those changes are finally starting to happen. The new amendment, which was passed yesterday, says that VA funds can’t be used to keep VA patients from accessing medical cannabis.
The new rules will only apply to VA doctors and patients in states where medical marijuana is legal.
But now that veterans can get medical marijuana, many will have new forms of treatment available to them for the first time.
The old rules were causing problems for many vets.
Over the past couple years there’s been a huge increase in the number of wounded veterans moving to states where legal medical marijuana is legal.
Even after moving to those states, however, these vets still had to get their medicine through doctors who don’t work for the VA.
Last month, U.S. Marine Sean Major started a campaign to become the first active duty military member allowed to use medical marijuana.
After being injured while on duty, Major was given a cocktail of prescription drugs. He said he became interested in medical marijuana when those drugs started causing new health problems.
Now that the amendment has been passed, military veterans like Major who live in states that have legalized medical marijuana will soon be able to get prescriptions from their VA doctors.
Medical marijuana is currently legal in 23 states and Washington, D.C.
That number will hit 24 this weekend as Pennsylvania legalizes medical marijuana. The state’s medical marijuana bill officially passed both the Senate and the House this week. Governor Tom Wolf will sign it into law this Sunday.
(Photo Credit: IVN)