When Sens. Cory Gardner (R-Colo.) and Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) introduced legislation this month to restrain the federal government from interfering with state-legal cannabis consumption and commerce, they galvanized an all-too-rare level of bipartisan, bicameral support. Notably missing from the voices of support for their bill are America’s veterans.
While the States Act would provide vital protection from federal criminal prosecution under the Controlled Substances Act, it would do nothing to provide legal protection or access to medical cannabis for the nine million veterans who rely on the Veterans Health Administration (VHA).
VHA would still be required under this bill to treat cannabis as a schedule 1 substance — a classification that bars veterans from pursuing medical cannabis as a treatment option under the care of VHA physicians, and potentially places them at risk of losing hard-earned benefits.
This is no small issue. America’s veterans are in crisis. On average, 22 veterans commit suicide every day. Veterans suffer chronic severe pain at rates roughly 40 percent higher than civilians according to the National Institutes of Health, helping to explain why the opioid crisis has hit veterans at a rate two times the national average. [Read more at The Hill]