A bipartisan group of 21 federal lawmakers have banded together to pressure the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to allow U.S. veterans the option of pursuing medical cannabis treatment.
The politicians sent a letter to VA Secretary Robert McDonald only days before the VA’s current policy regarding medical cannabis expires at the end of January. Currently, VA doctors are banned from recommending or even discussing the plant’s potential therapeutic benefits.
“According to the current directive, VA providers are prohibited from completing forms seeking recommendations or opinions regarding a veteran’s participation in a state-sanctioned marijuana program. This policy disincentivizes doctors and patients from being honest with each other,” the lawmakers argued.
“We should be doing everything we can to make life easier for our veterans,” said Oregon Senator Jeff Merkley, a Democrat. “Prohibiting VA doctors from talking to their patients about medical marijuana just doesn’t make sense.”
The following lawmakers signed the letter, as listed by Americans for Safe Access:
Senators Kirstin Gillibrand (D-NY), Steve Daines (R-MT), Corey Booker (D-NJ), Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Barbara Boxer (D-CA), Patty Murray (D-WA), Brian Schatz (D-HI), Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Michael Bennet (D-CO), Ron Wyden (D-OR), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA)
Representatives Earl Blumenauer (D-OR), Joe Heck (R-NV), Dina Titus (D-NV), Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA), Sam Farr (D-CA), Jared Polis (D-CO), Chellie Pingree (D-ME), Steve Cohen (D-TN), Justin Amash (R-MI), Mark Pocan (D-WI)