Congress Votes to Allow Veterans to Discuss Medical Marijuana with Their VA Doctors

Congress Votes to Allow Veterans to Discuss Medical Marijuana with Their VA Doctors

Last week the U.S House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate both voted to allow doctors with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs to discuss medical cannabis with their patients in states where such medicine is legal.

Both chambers of Congress tacked on amendments to military spending bills that would lift the restrictions on VA doctors discussing medical cannabis as an option in legal states.

"The death rate from opioids among VA health care is nearly double the national average," said Earl Blumenauer, sponsor of the amendment in the House. "From what I hear from veterans is that medical marijuana has helped them deal with pain and PTSD, particularly as an alternative to opioids."

Opponent of the amendment said more input is needed from the FDA, but the FDA has approved many drugs that ended up being dangerous while stalling on drugs that could have saved lives. Why should they be the final say on whether a professional medical expert should talk to a veteran about the possibility of using cannabis?

While the amendments would allow VA doctors to help patients with getting access to medical marijuana, the VA would not be providing access to the medicine. Considering the VA’s track record in providing health care, this is definitely a good thing. But there is no reason anyone in a legal state shouldn’t be able to talk to their doctor about medical cannabis.

We would all agree that veterans who put their lives on the line should have decent healthcare when they get home. We give soldiers guns and the power over the lives of others but we won’t give them the choice of what they should medicate with.

This is literally the least Congress can do, which makes you wonder why it took them so long to do it.