Compassionate use advocates rejoiced Memorial Day weekend following legislative victories in several states and the federal government. Illinois remains the most exciting battleground, but the most symbolic progress comes from the US Senate, where an Appropriations Committee agreed that military veterans should have the same rights to medical cannabis as civilians do.
US Controlled Substances Act is bad law, prohibits Veterans’ access
Veterans can’t talk to physicians about medicines derived from cannabis– not even in states like Illinois, Massachusetts or Nevada where it has been made legal for patients suffering from debilitating medical conditions. It’s hard enough for a civilian to find a certifying physician, but for veterans it’s nearly impossible because most of them receive treatment at Veterans Affairs hospitals. The problem with VA hospitals is they are managed by the federal government, which has failed to update an archaic Controlled Substances law that was enacted way back in 1970.
The US Controlled Substances Act is a product of fear, propaganda, and false information. It’s a bad law and it takes an extremist approach. All parts of the “marihuana” plant are classified as a Schedule I substance– a status which is supposed to be assigned only to the world’s most dangerous and addictive substances. When something is classified as a Schedule I substance, scientists and medical professionals can’t even obtain it for purposes of study.
This is the reason why despite miraculous advancements in modern medicine in the last 80 years, we still know very little about the active ingredients in cannabis (called cannabinoids). It’s also the reason why physicians at VA hospitals are unable to discuss the prospective benefits of medical cannabis with veterans who may need it.
But that’s about to change.
Equal Access for Military Veterans
Last week the US Senate Appropriations Committee voted to approve a Veterans Equal Access Amendment.
The historic legislation would finally enable VA physicians to certify US military veterans to use medicines derived from cannabis to treat cancer, pain, PTSD and other conditions.
- See news coverage in The Hill: Senate Panel votes to end VA ban on medical marijuana
Sen. Kirk (R-IL) thinks veterans don’t deserve the same rights as civilians… Can you believe it!?
The Senate Appropriations Committee on Thursday advanced a $77.6 billion funding bill for military construction and veterans benefits that includes an amendment allowing Veterans Affairs doctors to recommend the use of medical marijuana.
The amendment from Sens. Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.) and Steve Daines (R-Mont.) won approval in an 18-12 vote.
Sen. Mark Kirk (R-Ill.), the chairman of the subcommittee that oversees the funding bill and a veteran of the Navy Reserve, urged his colleagues to vote against the amendment.
The legislation still requires a vote from the full Senate and the full House before it can become law.