With two prior failed attempts to allow veterans access to medical marijuana, it is about time we saw some movement on the subject! Just recently the Senate approved a spending bill for the year of 2016 that will actually allow veterans to ask their doctors for a recommendation for medical marijuana for the first time.
The way things have been going a veteran cannot even consider talking to his doctor about medical marijuana. If they choose to go in that direction they have to do so with private funds, not their military medical benefits – which they would lose for testing positive for THC.
The previous two attempts to get veterans access to medical marijuana were filed by House Representative Earl Blumenaur and was filed under Veterans Equal Access Act. Unfortunately neither attempt at getting this signed into law never saw the light of day.
This time, instead of writing it up as a separate piece of legislature, the Senate slipped it into a budget plan for Military Construction and Veteran Affairs (MilCon-VA) Appropriations Bill. I think it was this tactic that allowed it to pass through this time around – but whatever the reason, it’s about time. The bill was passed on an 18-12 vote.
Of course, this will only allow veterans living in states with legal medical marijuana to access cannabis therapy as an option. This new bill may have veterans relocating to one of the 23 states in which the herb is legal for medicinal purposes in order to finally get the treatment they need and deserve.
With the new guidelines, while the vets will now be able to be prescribed medical marijuana without fear of their benefits being revoked, they do have to sign an “opiate consent” form. That form will basically state that if they test positive for THC their rights to opiate painkillers will be revoked. So while they did allow access to cannabis, they also gave these people a choice between painkillers and cannabis – but absolutely no middle ground.
It also stands, as High Times contributor Mike Adams points out, these sorts of bills have passed before. Last year the budget bill was supposed to prevent raids and prosecution of individuals or operations complying with state laws – but they sure managed to find the only loophole in that, didn’t they?
The legal world is a scary place – every word has to be phrased just right or everything you worked for could be torn down as quickly as it was built up.
Hopefully, this is one case where they choose to neglect any loop holes they might find. Veterans deserve the same care as any other patient – and if their state allows medicinal marijuana then they should have access to it no matter what!