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.