A coalition of Congressmembers have been working to grant navy veterans the appropriate to use medical hashish for years now, however 2021 simply is likely to be the 12 months that they succeed.
In 2018, Senators Brian Nelson (D-FL) and Bill Schatz (D-HI) filed the Veterans Medical Marijuana Safe Harbor Act, a invoice that might permit Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) physicians to suggest medical hashish to their sufferers. But, like each different hashish invoice launched that 12 months, GOP Congressional leaders killed it earlier than it might come up for a vote. The lawmakers continued to reintroduce the invoice annually, but it surely met the identical destiny.
Fast ahead to 2021, and the Democrats have supermajority management of Congress and the White House, vastly rising the possibilities that hashish reform efforts might lastly succeed. This month, the Safe Harbor Act has been reintroduced once more, with sturdy bipartisan help. The House model of the invoice is now sponsored by Reps. Barbara Lee (D-CA), Dave Joyce (R-OH), and 9 different cosponsors. In the Senate, Sen. Schatz continues to be the lead sponsor, together with Bernie Sanders and 5 different senators.
“It has been scientifically proven that medical marijuana has a considerable impact in treating conditions common with veterans when they return from service, like chronic pain and PTSD,” mentioned Rep. Lee in a statement. “This legislation will empower veterans and their doctors to make informed decisions about the use of medical marijuana to treat chronic conditions in states with legal medical marijuana programs without federal interference.”
The present draft of the invoice would make it authorized for veterans to use and possess medical hashish, so long as they’re in compliance with their house state’s medical pot program. VA medical doctors are presently allowed to talk about hashish with veterans, however the brand new regulation would formally permit them to write suggestions for medical hashish.
The Safe Harbor Act would additionally require the VA to conduct analysis on utilizing medical hashish to deal with power ache and scale back opioid abuse. To fund the analysis and coverage adjustments, the invoice would allocate $15 million in federal funding from the 2022 and 2023 fiscal budgets. This laws would utterly expire 5 years after being signed into regulation, until renewed by Congress.
“There is a growing body of evidence about the beneficial uses of medical cannabis as treatment for PTSD and chronic pain, two terrible conditions that plague many of our veterans,” mentioned Congressman Dave Joyce in a press release. “If a state has made it legal, like Ohio has, the federal government should not be preventing a VA doctor from recommending medical cannabis if they believe that treatment is right for their patient.”
Although veterans are presently in a position to search out their very own medical marijuana therapies with out the assistance of the VA, they danger dropping their federal advantages in the event that they achieve this. Any veteran, and even any worker of the VA division, can lose loans, medical help, or different advantages if they’re caught utilizing hashish, even when authorized of their house state.
Earlier this 12 months, Rep. Greg Steube (R-FL) proposed a invoice that might block the feds from stripping veterans advantages over medical pot use. The Safe Harbor Act would be certain that veterans had even larger entry to this important drugs, although.