Senate Takes First Step to Allow Vets to Use Medical Marijuana

Monday, May 25, 2015
(photo: Justin Sullivan, Getty Images)

The Senate Appropriations Committee voted Thursday to allow Veterans Administration doctors to recommend marijuana as a therapy for their patients in states that allow medical use of the drug.


The amendment, sponsored by Sen. Steve Daines (R-Montana) and Sen. Jeff  Merkley (D-Oregon), was attached to a Defense Department spending bill that is seen as one that almost certainly will be passed by the full Senate.


“Veterans in medical marijuana states should be treated the same as any other resident, and should be able to discuss marijuana with their doctor and use it if it’s medically necessary,” Drug Policy Alliance policy manager Michael Collins said in a press release. “They have served this country valiantly, so the least we can do is allow them to have full and open discussions with their doctors.”


Marijuana can help treat post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and traumatic brain injury, two conditions common with veterans returning from Afghanistan and Iraq. According to the Drug Policy Alliance, a  2014 study of those with PTSD showed a greater than 75% reduction in severity of symptoms when patients were using marijuana to treat their illness, compared to when they were not.


Physicians getting other government funding, such as for those on Medicare, Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), are already allowed to recommend marijuana to patients in states where it’s legal to do so. Twenty-three states and the District of Columbia currently allow some form of medical marijuana.


The House of Representatives voted down a similar amendment last month so it’s questionable whether the Senate amendment will make it to the final bill presented to President Barack Obama for his signature.

-Steve Straehley


To Learn More:

In Historic Vote, Senate Appropriations Committee Approves Veterans Medical Marijuana Amendment (Drug Policy Alliance)

Senate Committee Passes Bill Allowing Doctors to Recommend Medical Marijuana to Veterans (by Carimah Townes, ThinkProgress)

Senate Committee Approves Historic Measure to Increase Veterans’ Access to Medical Marijuana (by Matt Ferner, Huffington Post)

House Bill Would Permit VA Doctors to Use Medical Marijuana as Option for Patients (by Noel Brinkerhoff, AllGov)


Dave 8 years ago
It's good to see things are going in the right direction. has several state contracts in place with WA and IL.
JAMES PIERCE 8 years ago
I know it works, marijuana has been around long enough that there shouldn't be any question as to the effects on the human body. I am a veteran with PTSD, I smoke it and it works, if you want to how it works then ask. Every day veterans are taking there own lives because we are waiting on the approval of some government agency to say it's ok. Another thing, knowing the obvious answer to my question I still have to ask. Why only give medical marijuana to veterans in states where it's legal? I live in a state where it is not legal YET, but why should I suffer because of it, I take a chance every day of my life to maintain some sort of relief from the demons that constantly come in my daily life. I take a chance on losing my job at anytime, PLEASE, stop forcing pills on us that don't work, pills that make veterans addicted, an addiction that isn't doing anything but creating another problem. Marijuana IS NOT addicting, quit being scared of something you pretend to not know anything about, KNOWLEDGE IS POWER. Take marijuana off THE LIST, this is not crack cocaine, heroin, oxy. PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE help the young and the old veterans with there pain and suffering and do what is right. Allow all veterans, regardless of what state they live in to have access to medical marijuana, believe me when I say it. YOU WILL be saving live.............
Luke 9 years ago
I am a vet and have a spinal cord injury. Neuropathic pain and spasticity are a plague my life. If medicinal marihuana can make a big difference in my life than the government should do everything they can do to ease my suffering.

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