There is a lot going on in the medical marijuana industry these days. More and more states are legalizing the use of medical marijuana, some states are even legalizing the use of recreational marijuana. However, while all this is going on there is one huge community that is being left out, our veterans. We are forgetting about our soldiers, the men and women who have dedicated and risked their lives to fight for our country. Some of these soldiers have gone to war for us, came back from battle, and will never be the same. A lot of these veterans suffer from physical and mental health problems such as PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder), loss of limbs, brain injuries, etc. Most veterans also have a very difficult time transitioning from war to civilian life. These brave soldiers should have the right to discuss different medical treatments with their doctors, whether it be prescription drugs, or more natural herbal therapies like medical marijuana.
VA doctors are banned from discussing medical marijuana options with their patients. They cannot recommend or even give opinions to their patients about medical marijuana treatments. Recently, Congressman Earl Blumenauer brought the “Veterans Affairs and Related Agencies Appropriations bill” to the U.S. House of Representatives. This bill amendment would offer veterans in need of safe alternatives, access to medical marijuana as an option.
Congressman Blumenauer states:
“While there is no single approach to aiding our nation’s veterans, medical marijuana is proven to help in treating post-traumatic stress and traumatic brain injuries frequently suffered by veterans. States are listening to their residents on the benefits of medical marijuana, including veterans, and are changing their laws. It is unacceptable for our wounded warriors to be forced out of the VA system to simply seek a recommendation on whether or not medical marijuana is a good treatment option. We should not be preventing access to medicine that can help them deal with these injuries to survive and thrive. I encourage my colleagues to show compassion to our veterans and pass this amendment.”
Unfortunately, the House of Representatives defeated the amendment, with a vote of 213-210. Not allowing doctors to speak with their patients about medical marijuana is a violation of the first amendment. “It forces veterans into the black market to self-medicate. It prevents doctors from giving their best and honest advice and recommendations. And it pushes both doctors and patients toward drugs that are potentially more harmful and more addictive. It’s insane and it has to stop” (Blumenauer)
Overall, more citizens need to know that the same people fighting for our freedoms in our own back yards and abroad, are returning to their land and being oppressed. They already suffer handicaps, alienation, and depression, among other illnesses- but to deny our fallen, and still standing soldiers the right to safe and legal access to an herb is ridiculous. There are not enough adjectives to describe the foolishness of marijuana prohibition and outdated stigmas that incarcerate people who are not even committing a crime. It is time for the medical marijuana community to rise together as warriors to grant our soldiers fair treatment and access to it. As citizens we should all keep up to date on this very controversial issue, and please feel free to let us know what you think about it.