Hawaii Veterans Turn to Medical Marijuana for Help

Photo by Vortex Farmacy. 

HONOLULU (AP) — A Hawaii group is helping veterans cope with mental health issues by guiding them through how to use medical marijuana.

Honolulu News Now reported Thursday that Complimentary and Alternative Medicine is teaching vets how medical cannabis can help them with PTSD-induced pain and anxiety.

Read more at High Times

House Committee Blocks Attempt to Let VA Doctors Recommend Medical Marijuana

Republican lawmakers, who crow endlessly about their love and respect for the troops, have blocked a vote on a bill that would have allowed Veterans Affairs (VA) doctors to recommend medical marijuana as a pain treatment in states where it’s legal.

The House Rules Committee stopped a proposed “Veterans Equal Access” amendment from moving to debate on the House floor by keeping the measure out of the House’s proposed VA funding bill for next year.

This, after the Senate Appropriations Committee approved a veterans’ medical cannabis provision earlier this month by a vote of 24 to seven.

Read more at High Times

House Committee Blocks Veterans Equal Access Amendments

Two weeks ago, the Senate Appropriations Committee voted 24-7 to include the Veterans Equal Access amendment, introduced by Senator Daines (R-MT) as part of the 2018 Military Construction, Veterans Affairs and Related Agencies Appropriations bill, which would expand much needed medical marijuana access to our nation’s veterans.

Yet House Rules Committee Chairman Pete Sessions (R-TX) decided that he did not want the full House to be able to vote on this critical amendment.

Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR), the amendments lead sponsor, testified before the committee that it was “a critical area of literally life and death.”

Read more at NORML

Safe Cannabis Access for Veterans Moves Forward in Congress

A major Senate committee has approved an amendment to the military appropriations bill that would allow military veterans in legal cannabis states to access cannabis medicine.

The recent progress of the “Veterans Equal Access” amendment in the Senate (it passed the Appropriations Committee on a 24 to 7 vote) is good news, but neither veterans, their advocates nor anyone else invested in safe access to legal cannabis should celebrate quite yet.

We’ve reached this same stage before — just last year — but then the bill hit the House Republicans boss level the only thing left on the screen was “game over” for the amendment.

Read more at Cannabis Now

Senate Committee Approves Medical Marijuana for Veterans

The leading lawmaking brass of the United States government is making a push to ensure that doctors employed with the Department of Veterans Affairs can finally write medical marijuana recommendations for those patients living in states with dispensary programs.

Earlier last week, the Senate Appropriations Committee put its seal of approval on an amendment that would—for the first time ever—make medical marijuana access for veterans a part of the Military Construction, Veterans Affairs and Related Agencies Appropriations Bill.

The rider, which was introduced by Senators Steve Daines of Montana and Senator Jeff Merkley of Oregon, would “prohibit the use of funds appropriated or other-wise made available under this Act to interfere with the ability of veterans to participate in medicinal marijuana programs approved by States or deny services to such veterans.”

Read more at High Times

Senate Committee Overwhelmingly Passes Veterans Equal Access Amendment

Today, the Senate Appropriations Committee voted 24-7 to include the Veterans Equal Access amendment as part of the 2018 Military Construction, Veterans Affairs and Related Agencies Appropriations bill, which would expand much needed medical marijuana access to our nation’s veterans.

Presently, V.A. doctors in states where cannabis therapy is permitted are forbidden from providing the paperwork necessary to complete a medical cannabis recommendation, thus forcing military veterans to seek the advice of a private, out-of-network physician.

Veterans are increasingly turning to medical cannabis as an effective alternative to opioids and other conventional medications to treat conditions like chronic pain and post-traumatic stress. A retrospective review of patients’ symptoms published in 2014 in the Journal of Psychoactive Drugs reported a greater than 75 percent reduction on a scale of post-traumatic symptom scores following cannabis therapy. This is why, in recent months, two of the largest veterans’ rights groups — AMVETS and the American Legion —  have resolved in favor of patients’ access to cannabis therapy.

Read more at NORML

Tell the Senate to Expand Veterans’ Access to Medical Cannabis

This Wednesday, July 12th, members of the Senate Appropriations Committee will convene to discuss the Military Construction, Veterans Affairs and Related Agencies Appropriations bill. This legislative debate provides lawmakers with the opportunity to expand much needed medical marijuana access to our nation’s veterans.

Presently, V.A. doctors in states where cannabis therapy is permitted are forbidden from providing the paperwork necessary to complete a medical cannabis recommendation, thus forcing military veterans to seek the advice of a private, out-of-network physician. This issue can be solved by the approval of the Veterans Access Amendment, which ends these cruel and unnecessary restrictions on V.A. doctors and their patients.

Send a message to your Senators NOW demanding equal access for veterans.

Read more at NORML

Many Veterans Have to Break the Law to Use Medical Cannabis

For veterans in states with restrictive medical programs, acquiring the medicinal benefits of cannabis means breaking the law.

There are almost 900,000 military veterans living in New York State, and as many of 20 percent of them may suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder; if they served overseas in Iraq or Afghanistan — or if they were in Vietnam — that number may be as high as 30 percent, according to the Veterans Administration.

To call PTSD a debilitating nightmare is not an exaggeration: Sleepless nights, anxiety-filled days, and suicidal thoughts are common. The most common treatment is a pharmaceutical cocktail: anti-depressants, anti-anxiety drugs, and opioids.

Read more at Cannabis Now

Prescription Drugs Still Vanishing at VA Hospitals

If you are in need of prescription opiates, make your way to the nearest Veterans Affairs hospital. Not because VA hospitals prescribe opiates to anybody for any reason, even when it is very bad and dangerous to do so—though they do that, too—but because VA hospitals do a very bad job at stopping employees from stealing armloads of the stuff.

In February, the Associated Press discovered that opiates are going missing from VA hospitals at double the rate private hospital employees are swiping prescription pain pills. In response, the VA announced a “zero tolerance” policy, putting the doctors, nurses and other staffers at its nearly 1,200 medical centers and clinics around the country on notice… who then starting stealing even more.

As the AP reported on Tuesday, another 36 criminal investigations into pill theft were opened between Oct. 1 and May 19 of this year, “an increase from a similar period” the year before.

Read more at High Times

Access to MMJ for Veterans Grows, But the Struggle Continues

On Memorial Day, we honor those military service members who made the ultimate sacrifice. But for many combat veterans who return from battle with PTSD and debilitating injuries, medical cannabis provides crucial, sometimes life-saving relief. Veteran access to cannabis medicine is better than ever, but there’s still plenty of work to be done to ensure all our veterans can benefit from medical marijuana.

While veterans are not technically barred from access to Veterans Administration health services and programs for using medical marijuana, many other VA rules and regulations prevent access to the medicinal cannabis, especially for patients with limited mobility: the use or possession of marijuana is prohibited at all VA properties — no matter the form — and VA doctors may not prescribe medical marijuana or complete paperwork for state-approved marijuana programs.

And unlike Canada, where reimbursements for medical cannabis went from $400,000 to $20 million in just a few years for veterans, the VA will not pay for medical marijuana prescriptions from any source.

Read more at Cannabis Now