A national group of veterans known as the American Legion, which has local chapters scattered throughout the United States, has decided to back medical marijuana – calling on the Drug Enforcement Agency to reclassify cannabis as Schedule 2 in order to facilitate the research needed to make it available to everyone who will benefit – especially veterans suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and traumatic brain injuries. This decision was definitely not made lightly and comes after years of being educated on the subject by various individuals – most notably Dr. Sue Sisley, who is known to have recently obtained DEA permission to study cannabis and PTSD.
“I consider this a major breakthrough for such a conservative veterans organization,” she told Marijuana.com. “Suddenly the American Legion has a tangible policy statement on cannabis that will allow them to lobby and add this to their core legislative agenda. The organization has a massive amount of influence at all levels.”
The decision was announced last week during the American Legion convention in Cincinnati – and Dr. Sisley had the first opportunity to speak about medical cannabis at the annual convention. Two years of efforts finally paid off as the Legion cited specific facts that she had presented to them, which lead to their change in opinion when it comes to the use of medical marijuana. For the first time, a rather conservative group of veterans have not only acknowledged that medical marijuana should be explored as an option for veterans, but they actually called on the DEA and made their opinion loud and clear – they want the research so it can be an effective treatment in the years ahead.
“I only heard very positive feedback from the thousands of veterans in the audience,” she said. “I was stunned at how little controversy there was. It seems highly unanimous among American Legion members that we owe it to the veteran community to demand end to the barriers to this kind of cannabis research. In light of the epidemic of veteran suicide, the Legion knows they must strive to uncover new treatments for PTSD/opioid epidemic, etc.”
There is growing support from veterans of all ages when it comes to medical cannabis – and those living in states with medical marijuana programs almost had access to the option. Unfortunately, after the House and Senate passed provisions to allow it, they were left out of the spending bill. However, there is a possibility that they will be reinstated before the end of the year now that the bill is being reviewed to allocate funds for fighting the Zika virus. Currently, if veterans choose to use medical cannabis (even living in a state where it is legal) they must find a new doctor, outside of the VA circle.