veterans affairs

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U.S.: House Republicans Strip Veterans Of Equal Access To Marijuana In Dead Of Night

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"This isn't right for our veterans, or the American people."
~ Congressman Earl Blumenauer and Senator Jeff Merkley

On Wednesday, in the dead of night, as House Democrats held a sit-in for gun safety, House Republicans stripped language that would make it easier for qualified veterans to access state-legal medical marijuana from legislation to fund the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA).

With no transparency and little opportunity for Members to review, the House passed the legislation shortly after 3 a.m. local time Thursday. The Senate will vote on the legislation next.

Representative Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) and Senator Jeff Merkley (D-OR) released the following statement:

“Our language ensuring fair treatment for our veterans had broad, bipartisan support and passed both Chambers—it’s outrageous that it was removed. To add insult to injury, the legislation was released in the middle of the night, not even giving Members of the House an opportunity to review the language before voting on it. This isn’t right for our veterans, or the American people. We will keep fighting to make sure our wounded warriors have equal treatment and the ability to consult with their VA medical providers about medical marijuana as a treatment option.”

U.S.: House Removes Restrictions Preventing Veterans Access To Medical Marijuana

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By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

The U.S. House of Representatives on Thursday passed an amendment to the FY 2017 Military Construction, Veterans Affairs and Related Agencies Appropriations bill led by Representative Earl Blumenauer of Oregon to make it easier for qualified veterans to access state-legal medical marijuana.

The amendment had bipartisan support and was co-sponsored by Representatives Joe Heck (R-NV), Sam Farr (D-CA), Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA), Tom Reed (R-NY), Dina Titus (D-NV), Barbara Lee (D-CA), Ruben Gallego (D-AZ), and Jared Polis (D-CO). It passed by 233-189.

“One of the greatest tragedies of our time is our failure to adequately deal with the needs of our veterans returning home with wounds both visible and unseen," Representative Blumenauer said. "Giving them access to medical marijuana as an alternative treatment option to deal with chronic pain, PTSD, and other conditions is critical at a time when our veterans are dying with a suicide rate 50 percent higher than civilians and opiate overdoses at nearly double the national average.

U.S.: Blumenauer To Offer Veterans Equal Access Amendment For Medical Marijuana

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Representative Earl Blumenauer of Oregon this week will offer an amendment to make it easier for qualified veterans to access medical marijuana, when the U.S. House of Representatives considers the FY 2017 Military Construction, Veterans Affairs and Related Agencies Appropriations bill.

Currently, the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) specifically prohibits its medical providers from completing forms brought by their patients seeking recommendations or opinions regarding a veteran’s participation in a state medical marijuana program. This forces veterans out of the VA system to seek a simple recommendation for treatment for eligible conditions as granted to them by state laws.

Rep. Blumenauer’s amendment ensures that no funds made available to the VA can be used to implement this prohibition, which would, in effect, strike it down.

“It’s wrong and unfair to force our veterans outside of the VA system to simply seek a recommendation on whether or not medical marijuana is a good treatment option," said Congressman Blumenauer. "And, our VA physicians should not be denied the ability to offer such a recommendation if they think it may meet the needs of their patient.”

U.S.: Blumenauer Applauds Passage of Senate VA Medical Marijuana Amendment

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U.S. Representative Earl Blumenauer of Oregon on Thursday applauded the Senate Committee on Appropriations for passing the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Medical Marijuana Amendment for the second consecutive year.

This amendment, offered by Senators Jeff Merkley (D-OR) and Steve Daines (R-MT), would allow VA physicians to provide recommendations regarding the participation of a veteran in a state medical marijuana program.

“For the second time, the Senate has taken action to do what’s right for our veterans," Representative Blumenauer said. "I commend Senators Merkley and Daines for leading this fight in the Senate, and I look forward to pushing it across the finish line in the House.”

“All in all, today’s vote by the Senate Appropriations Committee is very encouraging as we advocate for passage of simple and commonsense measures to reform our marijuana laws,” Congressman Blumenauer said.

Colorado: Military Veteran Gives Away Free Marijuana To Fellow Vets For PTSD

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By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

A Colorado Springs cannabis club headed by a military veteran is handing out free marijuana to other veterans, hoping to give them relief from issues like post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) for chronic pain they suffer after returning home from war zones.

The Veteran Farmers Alliance over the weekend gave away more than a half-pound of weed, along with cannabis edibles, worth about $1,400, to veterans at the Dab Lounge, reports RT.com. Founder Steve Defino said other groups should be doing the same thing, and that cannabis was essential for him to deal with his PTSD, which he has battled for more than a decade.

Defino said he was prepared to spend nearly 20 times the amount he spent on Saturday at a followup event planned for Veteran's Day in November, reports Andrew Blake at The Washington Times.

“I’ve seen other organizations operate, and I’m not very happy with the way they do it,” Defino said in an interview with KXRM. “They need to be donating more and doing more to show these guys that they actually care.”

“I’ve been able to actually go through my memories, recall my memories without getting upset anymore, and I’m starting to live my life again like a normal person,” Defino said.

U.S.: Senate Approves Funding Bill That Allows Veterans Access To Medical Marijuana

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Amendment Would Allow VA Doctors to Recommend Medical Marijuana to Their Patients in States Where It’s Legal

The Senate on Tuesday passed the FY2016 Military Construction and Veterans Affairs (MilCon-VA) Appropriations Bill, which includes language to allow Veterans Administration (VA) doctors to recommend medical marijuana to their patients in states where medical marijuana is legal. The language was included as an amendment in the Senate Appropriations committee in May.

“Veterans in medical marijuana states should be treated the same as any other resident, and should be able to discuss marijuana with their doctor,” said Michael Collins, deputy director of national affairs for the Drug Policy Alliance. “It makes no sense that a veteran can’t use medical marijuana if it helps them and it is legal in their state.”

The Veterans Equal Access Amendment was sponsored by Republican Senator Steve Daines of Montana and Democratic Senator Jeff Merkley of Oregon. It passed the Committee 18-12 in a bipartisan vote. The funding bill will now be negotiated with the House’s version as part of an omnibus spending bill.

"On this eve of Veterans/Armistice Day where we remember those who served in the military and the treaty agreement to reach peace concluding WWI, 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 of the United States," said TJ Thompson, a disabled Navy veteran.

D.C.: Veterans To Rally At The White House Wednesday For Medical Marijuana

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This Veteran’s Day, Wednesday, Nov. 11, veterans and activists will gather to walk from the Veteran’s Affairs Headquarters down Pennsylvania Avenue to the gates of the White House where they will be disposing of thousands empty prescription pill bottles collected from their brothers and sisters across the country in memory of those whose sacrifices did not end on the battlefield.

With the current veteran suicide rate at 22 per day, it is time for the VA to recognize alternate forms of war trauma treatment for our veterans.

"Join us tomorrow at the White House gates to witness firsthand the cause that veterans, their families, and advocate associations alike are fighting for," said event organizer, world-renowned cannabis expert and veterans' rights activist Garyn Angel.

Angel will lead thousands of United States veterans and several national veterans’ organizations during the march.

Where: The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW

When: Veterans Day, Wednesday, November 11
Walk to begin at 12 pm (noon)

U.S.: Blumenauer To Offer Amendment To Remove Restrictions Preventing VA From Recommending Marijuana

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When the U.S. House of Representatives this week is expected to consider the FY 2016 Military Construction, Veterans Affairs and Related Agencies Appropriations bill, Congressman Earl Blumenauer of Oregon plans to offer an amendment to make it easier for qualified veterans to access medical marijuana.

Currently, the Veterans Administration (VA) specifically prohibits its medical providers from completing forms brought by their patients seeking recommendations or opinions regarding a Veteran’s participation in a state medical marijuana program. Congressman Blumenauer’s amendment ensures that no funds made available to the VA can be used to implement this prohibition, which would, in effect, strike it down.

The amendment is currently co-sponsored by Representatives Tom Reed (R-NY), Sam Farr (D-CA) and Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA).

“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,” said Congressman Blumenauer. “States are listening to their residents on the benefits of medical marijuana, including veterans, and are changing their laws.

U.S.: Rep. Blumenauer Reintroduces Bill To Expand Medical Marijuana Access For Veterans

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Congressman Earl Blumenauer (D-OR), along with eight bipartisan cosponsors, on Tuesday introduced the Veterans Equal Access Act to make it easier for qualified veterans to access medical marijuana in states where it is legal.

Currently, the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) specifically prohibits its medical providers from completing forms brought by their patients seeking recommendations or opinions regarding participation in a state medical marijuana program. The Act would authorize VA physicians and other health care providers to provide recommendations and opinions regarding the use of medical marijuana to veterans who live in medical marijuana states.

“Post traumatic stress and traumatic brain injury can be more damaging and harmful than injuries that are visible from the outside,” Rep. Blumenauer said. “And they can have a devastating effect on a veteran’s family.

"We should be allowing these wounded veterans access to the medicine that will help them survive and thrive, including medical marijuana -- not treating them like criminals and forcing them into the shadows. It’s shameful,” he said.

Approximately 20 percent of the 2.8 million American veterans who served in Iraq and Afghanistan suffer from PTS and Depression. In addition, a recent study found that of the nearly one million veterans who receive opioids to treat painful conditions, more than half continue to consume chronically or beyond 90 days.

U.S.: Fired Professor Nominated For $2M Grant To Study Marijuana, PTSD

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By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Colorado is welcoming once-shunned marijuana researcher Dr. Sue Sisley, who in a controversial move was fired from her former position at the University of Arizona.

Dr. Sisley, who was sacked in July, has been nominated for a $2 million grant from the state of Colorado to continue her medical research, reports Nina Golgowski at the New York Daily News.

The research pioneer expressed suspicion that her abrupt termination was due to political influence. Up until now, Dr. Sisley had feared that her study of the effects of cannabis on post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD, would be halted without a lab.

With the proposed generous grant -- awaiting a board's December 17 decision -- Sisley's study into the potential benefits of cannabis, especially, to U.S. veterans, could continue.

"That's the beauty of this grant," Sisley told AZ Central. "The Colorado Health Department believed in the quality of this research regardless of whether I was aligned with an Arizona university or not."

Sisley's study plans to examine 76 veterans with PTSD, half of whom will be in Arizona -- where a private donor has offered her free lab space -- while the other half will be at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland.

U.S.: House Bill Introduced To Overturn Ban On VA Physicians Recommending Medical Marijuana

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"Veterans Equal Access Act" would allow VA physicians to discuss medical marijuana with their patients without federal censure

U.S. House Representatives Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) and Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA), along with 10 bipartisan Congressional cosponsors on Thursday introduced the "Veterans Equal Access Act" (VEAA), marking a concerted federal effort to allow our country's veterans to become medical marijuana patients in states where it's legal. The VEAA would simply allow Veterans Affairs (VA) physicians to discuss and recommend medical marijuana to their patients, a right enjoyed by physicians outside of the VA system.

"Post traumatic stress and traumatic brain injury are just as damaging and harmful as any injuries that are visible from the outside," said Blumenauer, the bill's author. "Sometimes even more so because of the devastating effect they can have on a veteran's family.

"We should be allowing these wounded warriors access to the medicine that will help them survive and thrive, including medical marijuana, not treating them like criminals and forcing them into the shadows," Blumenauer said. "It's shameful."

Florida: Medical Marijuana Business Seminars Upcoming In September

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Florida MMJ Seminars on Wednesday announced in collaboration with HighDrive Digital Group, marketers for the medical marijuana industry, a seminar in Florida on the benefits and science of medical marijuana and the importance of voting “Yes” on Amendment 2 to make it more accessible to patients in need.

Educators at the seminar have more than 150 years of combined experience, according to the group, which called it "a must attend for everyone who will be involved in the medical marijuana industry – doctors, lawyers, nurses, educators, and entrepreneurs."

"Growing medical marijuana can be very lucrative, and there are only a couple of hundred seats available for the seminars," reads a prepared statement from Florida MMJ Seminars.

Florida is experiencing a huge demand for the cannabinoid medical treatment, especially considering that it is the largest homestead for baby boomers and holistic medical centers. The Florida Veterans Affairs department is one of the largest in the country with more than 1.5 million veterans residing and many in need of the medical marijuana treatment.

The topics covered in the seminars will be aimed at potential patients, clients, business partners and medical professionals:

• The role of Endocannabinoid System in the medical treatment
• Potential use of cannabinoids and a general overview of the history, licensing, and Charlotte’s Web
• Proposed Florida law guidelines and business growth
• Economics of dispensaries, grows, security systems and holistic treatments

U.S.: Nearly 200 Members of Congress Tell V.A. To Let Doctors Recommend Medical Marijuana

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Amendment would have prohibited VA from spending federal funds to prevent its doctors from recommending medical marijuana to veterans suffering from debilitating conditions

Nearly 200 members of Congress, including 22 Republicans, on Wednesday voted in favor of an amendment intended to allow physicians within the Veterans Affairs system to recommend medical marijuana to veterans in states that allow it. The bipartisan-sponsored amendment failed 195-222.

H.R. 4486, the Military Construction and Veterans Affairs and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, would have prohibited the VA from spending federal funds implementing a directive that prevents doctors from recommending medical marijuana to veterans suffering from debilitating conditions, such as cancer, HIV/AIDS, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

A Veterans Health Administration directive issued in 2011 forbids VA medical providers from signing forms that would allow veterans to obtain marijuana in accordance with state medical marijuana programs.

The amendment, sponsored by Congressmen Earl Blumenauer (D-OR), Sam Farr (D-CA), Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA), and Jared Polis (D-CO), was the first of its kind to be introduced on the House floor.

Colorado: Veterans Suffering From PTSD Absurdly Denied Legal Marjuana

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Veterans With PTSD Who Use Legal Marijuana in Colorado Can Lose VA Medical Care and Benefits

Legislation to Add PTSD As Qualifying Condition for Medical Marijuana Rejected By Colorado Legislature

A bill on Monday failed to pass the Colorado House State, Veterans, and Military Affairs committee that would have added post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) to the list of ‘debilitating medical conditions’ that qualify for a medical marijuana recommendation.

This timely bill (HB14-1364) would have addressed a major gap in access to medical marijuana in Colorado for veterans and all those suffering from PTSD. The bill sought to ensure that veterans won’t lose their VA benefits for following their physician’s recommendation to use medical marijuana.

On average a veteran commits suicide every hour in the United States -– and medical marijuana has been proven to reduce suicide. But Colorado veterans who use marijuana to manage their symptoms of PTSD risk losing their Veterans Administration (VA) benefits. VA policy permits veterans in compliance with their state medical marijuana law to continue to receive all their benefits and remain eligible for care in the VA medical system.

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