Senate Says OK To Medical Marijuana For Veterans

By May Wilkerson 11/12/15

The recent measure is a huge victory for marijuana reformers and veterans alike.

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Pot has been found to be an effective antidote to PTSD. But many U.S. veterans have faced legal hurdles blocking them from access to the drug. Now, thanks to a recent Senate measure, U.S. veterans could finally get permission from the Veterans Health Administration to be prescribed medical marijuana.

Even in states where medical marijuana is legal, the organization currently prohibits its physicians from discussing pot as a treatment option for patients in states with legal medical marijuana. But on Tuesday, the day before Veteran’s Day, the Senate approved a law that would allow Veterans Health Administration doctors to authorize use of medical pot.

"We see this victory as a step toward a peace treaty with the government we volunteered to defend with our lives and as a step toward restoring our First Amendment rights and dignity as citizens," said disabled Navy veteran T.J. Thompson in a statement released by the Drug Policy Alliance.

The measure was passed by the Senate without opposition on Tuesday. It will still have to survive a negotiated spending bill between leaders of the Senate and the House of Representatives. But pot reformers are optimistic that it will pass.

Even with the new legislation, marijuana would remain illegal on a federal level. However, the ruling is seen as a big win for marijuana reform. A growing body of research suggests pot could be effective treatment for PTSD and other conditions common among veterans. 

"It’s an exciting time for veterans," said activist Garyn Angel, who led a demonstration to the White House yesterday to advocate for marijuana as an alternate treatment for PTSD and other conditions. "Veterans should have access to cannabis regardless of their ZIP code."

Medical marijuana laws vary from state-to-state. In some states, the plant is only authorized to treat a small number of conditions. But in California, for example, the guidelines are infamously lax. The Obama administration has mostly given a free pass to state medical and recreational marijuana programs, despite being illegal on a federal level.

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May Wilkerson is a writer, comic and Managing Editor @someecards. Co-host of the podcast Crazy; In Bed w/alyssalimp. She is also the top Google result for "insufferable lunatic." Follow this insufferable lunatic on Twitter.

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