Giving Veterans Access to Medical Marijuana

Mission Hills USA - November 11 2015: Fito Magdaleno U.S. Army veteran during The San Fernando Valley Veterans Day Parade

Every medical marijuana patient knows that medical pot can help many bodily injuries in a way that traditional medicine simply doesn’t—that’s why it’s approval as a pain medication across the U.S. is steadily growing.  However, there is one major demographic that doesn’t have any access to medical marijuana, and it’s one that could use it the most: U.S. Veterans.

Veterans return home with injuries and scars that most people can only imagine, and are more painful than many of the injuries and diseases medical marijuana is currently prescribed for. Not only that, but the psychological wounds of war cut just as deep, forcing veterans to take on a mix of antidepressants and pharmaceutical pain killers, which can lead to crippling addictions. It even recently came out that veterans who began to use strong opioid painkillers, had a very high likelihood of also beginning to use heroin to cure their pain.

That simply isn’t okay.

This is why, in June, when Congress made the first step on approving medical marijuana for veterans, many people rejoiced. Of nearly any U.S. demographic, veterans deserve a safe, effective way to deal with chronic pain that doesn’t risk of making them addicted to a highly dangerous opioid mix. That, and the growing belief that medical pot could be used to help treat PTSD symptoms makes it equally important for our vets to have access to it.  This is why people were infuriated that at the end of that very same month, this provision was stripped out of the new VA funding bill. It wasn’t argued or debated, merely cut out at the last second in a private back-door meeting right before the vote.

Medical Marijuana will eventually become ubiquitous—states are slowly legalizing it one by one, and like several other controversial rulings before it, once enough states allow access to medical pot, the federal government will get on board and make it legal in every state. But it isn’t right that veterans, people who have sacrificed so much for the freedoms of this country and who desperately need a safe way of treating their mental and physical wounds, keep getting put back on the waiting list.


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