department of veterans affairs

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Colorado: Governor Signs SB 17, Adds Post Traumatic Stress Disorder To Medical Cannabis Program

Colorado Medical Marijuana

By Michael Bachara
Hemp News

On Monday, Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper signed SB 17, a medical cannabis bill sponsored by Senator Irene Aguilar and Representative Jonathan Singer, which creates a statutory right to use medical marijuana for a patient with acute stress disorder or post-traumatic stress disorder. The bill creates the same rights, limitations, and criminal defenses and exceptions as the constitutional right to use medical marijuana.

United States: Veterans Affairs Secretary Shulkin: "We’re Interested In Looking At Medical Marijuana For Vets"

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"If there is compelling evidence that this is helpful, I hope that people take a look at that and come up with the right decision." Veterans Affairs Secretary David Shulkin

By Michael Bachara
Hemp News

Veterans Affairs Secretary David Shulkin said Wednesday he's open to expanding the use of medical cannabis to help service members suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), but cited the VA is limited by strict federal law.

In the United States, it is estimated that 22 veterans take their lives each day. “That should be unacceptable to all of us,” Shulkin said.

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.: National Poll Shows Majority Supports Legalizing Marijuana

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By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

A majority of American registered voters nationwide support the legalization of marijuana, according to the results of a new Quinnipiac Poll released on Monday.

Just more than half -- 54 percent -- said cannabis use should be made legal across the United States, while 41 percent said it should not, reports Nick Gass at Politico.

The results showed partisan polarization, with Democrats favoring legalizing 65 percent to 30 percent, and Republicans opposing legalization 62 percent to 36 percent. Independent voters backed legalization 61 percent to 36 percent, as did men (60 percent to 37 percent) and women, but just by 48 percent to 46 percent, within the margin of error.

Possession of cannabis is already legal in Alaska, Colorado, Oregon, and Washington, along with the District of Columbia, with a couple of dozen other states having decriminalized the herb.

Majorities of voters younger than 65 said they would support legalization, while 57 percent of those 65 and older said they would oppose it.

U.S.: Veterans Increasingly Turning To Marijuana For PTSD Relief

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By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

More and more states and considering allowing military veterans and others with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) to use medical marijuana for relief. But many veterans aren't waiting for permission.

Military veterans are increasingly using medicinal cannabis, although it remains illegal in most states and is frowned upon by the Department of Veterans Affairs, reports the Associated Press.

Marijuana does a lot better managing anxiety, insomnia and nightmares than the harsh pharmaceuticals approved by the federal government and handed out by the VA, according to many former members of the military. Prescription drugs such as Zoloft and Klonopin are often ineffective and make them feel like zombies, many veterans said.

"I went from being an anxious mess to numbing myself with the pills they were giving me," said 39-year-old former Marine Mike Whiter of Philadelphia, where marijuana is still illegal. "Cannabis helped me get out of the hole I was in. I started to talk to people and get over my social anxiety."

After Andy Zorn got home from serving with the Army in Iraq, he suffered from PTSD and self-medicated with cannabis. The VA diagnosed him with "marijuana dependence" as well as depression and bipolar disorder, according to his mother, Sally Schindel of Prescott, Arizona.

U.S.: Senate Panel OKs Medical Marijuana For Veterans

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By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

The U.S. Senate Appropriations Committee on Thursday voted 18-12 to approve an amendment to increase military veterans' access to medical marijuana.

The amendment, sponsored by Sen. Steve Daines (R-MT) and Jeff Merkley (D-OR) to the must-pass Senate version of the Military Construction, Veterans Affairs and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, if signed into law, would prevent the Department of Veterans Affairs from spending money to enforce a prohibition on V.A. doctors filling out medical marijuana recommendation forms in states where the drug is legal.

“This is a historic moment," said Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR). "Passage of the amendment was the right thing to do for our veterans.

"We should not be preventing access to medicine that can help our wounded warriors deal with serious conditions, such as post-traumatic stress and traumatic brain injuries,” Blumenauer said. “Today’s passage coupled with the narrow defeat of my amendment to the MilCon-VA appropriations bill in the House signals there is real movement and bipartisan support in reforming outdated federal marijuana policies. We are now in a good position to be able to advocate for inclusion of this policy in a final appropriations bill.”

U.S.: House Narrowly Defeats Increasing Veterans' Access To Medical Marijuana

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The U.S. House of Representatives on Thursday voted 213-210 to defeat an amendment to increase military veterans' access to medical marijuana.

The appropriations amendment, offered by Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) and a bipartisan group of co-sponsors, would have prevented the Department of Veterans Affairs from spending money to enforce a prohibition on V.A. doctors filling out medical marijuana recommendation forms in states where the drug is legal.

"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," Blumenauer said. "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," Congressman Blumenauer said.

But weed-phobic throwbacks to the bad old days of the 20th Century stood in the way. "So, why in the world we we give a drug that is addictive, that is prohibited as a Schedule I, that is not accepted for any medical disease or disorder, and enhances psychosis and schizophrenia?" asked Rep. John Fleming (R-Louisiana), who, excuse my saying so, is clearly a moron.

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