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April 28k 2018
Veterans' Grass-Roots Movement Shares Health Benefit of #Marijuana

Their group is part of a unique movement of vets who are trying to help themselves get through the challenges that come with going to war and living with the consequences.

#Vets #PTSD
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April 17, 2018
Bipartisan Group of Lawmakers Push VA to Research Marijuana

A group of Republicans and Democrats in the House introduced a bill Tuesday that would clarify the Department of Veterans Affairs has the authority to study #medicalmarijuana and incite the agency to initiate research.

The VA Medicinal Cannabis Research Act stops short of mandating the VA research #marijuana but the bill makes clear the VA can study it -- a fact recently muddled by former VA Secretary David Shulkin. It would also require VA leaders to report regularly to Congress about their progress on marijuana research.

Lawmakers cited the #opioidcrisis and the growing demand among #veterans organizations that want cannabis available as a treatment option for chronic pain, post-traumatic stress disorder and other medical issues that disproportionately affect veterans.

The American Legion, which has 2 million members, supports the bill and began advocating for marijuana research two years ago.

The group commissioned a poll in November that purports one in five veterans use marijuana to alleviate symptoms of a physical or a mental medical condition.

Because marijuana is classified among Schedule 1 drugs, which are defined as having no medical use, federal research is highly restricted.
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March 20, 2018
Law Keeping Vets From Marijuana Might Not Actually Exist

►Trump’s VA Chief keeps referencing a federal marijuana ban and then ignoring requests to see it.

Last week, Congresswoman Barbara Lee (D-Calif) called Veterans Affairs Secretary David Shulkin out for preventing veterans from accessing #marijuana for post-traumatic stress disorder and chronic pain, among other conditions.

“It’s a shame and disgrace that the VA is preventing this type of treatment that works,” Lee said to Shulkin during a meeting on Capitol Hill regarding the VA’s 2019 budget.

Lee requested that Shulkin explain why he has yet to allow VA physicians in legal states to write #medicalmarijuana recommendations for veterans.

►The most recent directive, released in December 2017, bars VA physicians “from completing forms or registering Veterans for participation in a State-approved marijuana program…to comply with Federals Laws.”

►Secretary Shulkin has continually said that the VA can’t change its policies on cannabis until federal law changes, but the department has yet to point to a specific federal law that says this.

Shulkin’s office has also continually ignored requests from researchers, the media, and drug reform advocates to see the law supporting his claim.

►At the meeting last week, Rep. Lee implied it’s because there isn’t one.

#PTSD #VeteransAffairs #Vets
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January 22, 2018
Veterans Pushing for Right to Use Medical Marijuana

►Veterans and their advocates say cannabis can help with PTSD and other ailments, but so far Veterans Affairs is slow to conduct tests.

“The only thing that’s really helped me with all these symptoms is cannabis [marijuana],” Pereyda said. “The pain, anger, mood swings, appetite, my sleep, all have been addressed by this one plant. I got my life back.”
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January 5, 2018
VA says Justice Department crackdown on marijuana won’t hit veterans
Veterans who talk to their doctors about medical marijuana use won’t be hurt by the new Justice Department crackdown on the drug, according to officials at the Department of Veterans Affairs.

►Past studies have shown promise for cannabis in treatment of post-traumatic stress and pain management in veterans, but that research has been limited by strict federal classification of the drug. Groups like the American Legion have pushed for expanded research, but so far President Donald Trump’s administration has not agreed to the move.

►*A survey of veterans by the American Legion last fall found that 92 percent of those polled support expanded medical cannabis research, and 83 percent believe medical cannabis should be federally legal.*
Military Times
Military Times
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December 19, 2017
V.A. Issues New Medical Marijuana Policy For Military Veterans
The V.A.'s previous medical cannabis policy, enacted in 2011, technically expired on January 31, 2016, but remained in place until the enactment of the new directive, effective this month. The new policy is set to expire at the end of 2022.

In 2003, the U.S. Supreme Court let stand a federal ruling finding that doctors have a First Amendment right to recommend medical cannabis to patients, as long as they don't actually provide marijuana.

►The only thing standing in the way of government doctors recommending medical cannabis to veterans is the V.A.’s own internal policy, which the the department's Veterans Health Administration just extended with the new directive.

►No physician in the U.S. — government or private — can prescribe marijuana, because prescription is a federally-regulated process and cannabis currently falls under the Controlled Substances Act’s restrictive Schedule I, a category that is supposed to be reserved for drugs with a high potential for abuse and no medical value.

That’s why the 29 states with medical cannabis access allow doctors to simply recommend the drug, circumventing the prescription process, within the scope of the protections of the 2003 federal case mentioned above.

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December 20, 2017
New VA Rules Allow Docs to Talk About Medical Marijuana
Doctors and pharmacists at the Veterans Affairs Department have been cleared to talk about the pluses and minuses of medical marijuana use with vets who ask about the drug.

The doctors will still be barred from recommending or prescribing marijuana, but under a new VA directive they will be able to "discuss with the veteran marijuana use, due to its clinical relevance to patient care, and discuss marijuana use with any veterans requesting information about marijuana."

In a White House briefing in May, VA Secretary Dr. David Shulkin said states allowing medical marijuana use may be providing "some evidence that this is beginning to be helpful, and we're interested in looking at that and learning from that."

However, Shulkin said that "until time the federal law changes, we are not able to prescribe medical marijuana for conditions that may be helpful."
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November 3, 2017
Veterans Groups Push for Medical Marijuana to Treat #PTSD

Veterans groups say the fastest and most effective way to help veterans get access to treatment is to simply reschedule the drug [from Schedule 1].

Mr. Plenzler [American Legion Spokesman] said that veterans had turned to #medicalmarijuana as an alternative to so-called “zombie drugs,” including opioids and antidepressants, that they said adversely affected their mood and personality, up to and including thoughts of suicide.

In 2016, the American Legion petitioned the government to relax federal restrictions on marijuana in two ways. The group asked Congress to remove the drug from the list of Schedule 1 narcotics — drugs that have “no accepted medical use” — and reclassify it in a lower schedule.

It also called on the Drug Enforcement Administration to license more privately funded growers to focus on medical research.

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January 9, 2018
Under the bill, which is expected to soon move to the state Senate, people over 21 years of age would be allowed to legally possess three-quarters of an ounce of marijuana and grow up to three mature cannabis plants at home. Retail sales locations would not be allowed.
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