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Sensi Magazine

U.S. Veterans Stiffed Again on Cannabis

Oct 06, 2016 03:24PM ● By Leland Rucker

The American Legion, at its 98th annual convention last month, formally asked Congress to recognize the potential medical value of marijuana. The veterans group, which consists of about two and a half million active and former members of the U.S. military, passed a resolution urging federal lawmakers to reclassify marijuana and eliminate other obstacles currently hindering medical research involving the plant.

For many, this is a charged, emotional issue. Vets now can only be prescribed pharmaceutical drugs for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder at a time when a growing number of them are finding relief from the symptoms of PTSD, seizures and headache and pain relief by using cannabis products. A Department of Veterans Affairs standard keeps its doctors from recommending medical cannabis as treatment. Vets wanting to use medical cannabis need a doctor’s recommendation outside of the VA system and have to pay the expense out of pocket.

The Legion recognizes this, growing numbers of vets understand this, and almost nine out of ten American support medical use and cannabis research. Though it doesn’t work for everyone, cannabis is a plant, non-toxic, that lack the side effects of what we’ll call conventional drugs.

Earlier this year, both the U.S. House and Senate approved a veterans’ appropriations bill that contained the Veterans Equal Access Amendment, which would have allowed VA doctors to discuss and be able to recommend medical cannabis to their patients who have qualifying conditions in states where it is legal for medical purposes.

Though they were passed by each body, they had slightly different wordings. When that happens, a conference committee with members from both chambers and parties get together to work out compromise language.

Guess what? When President Barack Obama signed it, the cannabis measure, which would have allowed allow VA doctors to fill out the forms necessary for veterans to acquire marijuana in states that allow its medical use, had vanished.

Too bad for vets. too bad for the American Legion, too bad for the wishes of nine of 10 Americans. Many citizens today are questioning how important our individual votes are, but this is one of those situations that shows that even congressional votes sometimes don’t count, and that a small minority can stop what citizens and Congress both want.

These are the same kind of tactics being used by a small group in Congress who through legal shenanigans won’t allow the District of Colombia to enact recreational cannabis laws passed by 80 percent of district voters. I’ll bet they toast themselves at dinner. Is there an emoticon for feeling mighty smug?