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house Bill H.R. 667

Should VA Physicians Be Able To Recommend Medical Marijuana To Veterans?

Argument in favor

Marijuana has been embraced by numerous states for its medical benefits, and the federal government shouldn’t prevent veterans from accessing something that can improve their quality of life.

stimoceiver's Opinion
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03/05/2015
This is the 21st century. The VA should be able to authorize any medicine that is known to work - and marijuana is known to help with many ailments both psychological and physiological.
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EricRevell's Opinion
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03/01/2015
The VA (and by association the federal government) shouldn't prevent veterans from accessing medicine that could improve their quality of life in states where that medicine is legal.
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GraysonMask's Opinion
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08/21/2016
The VA should be held to the same legal consequences as the federal government, so they shouldn't be able to provide an illegal substance to patients. But the VA can make recommendations for state Marjuana dispensaries, where the substance is legal.
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Argument opposed

As a Federal agency, the VA should be held to the standards of federal law, by not doling out recommendations for illegal drugs to patients. There are legal pharmaceutical substitutes for medical marijuana that serve the same purpose.

Mark's Opinion
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02/12/2016
Pot is not a medical plant. Besides it is illegal under federal law
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PacificCstar's Opinion
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06/11/2015
Let's make sure the VA can handle standard medical treatments before we add marijuana controversy to the mix.
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operaman's Opinion
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08/22/2016
Not in support of Mary Jane, but the medical profession does support marijuana for multiple uses. So while VA doctors must uphold Federal Law, veterans with conditions amenable to marijuana should benefit from states allowing marijuana use.
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What is House Bill H.R. 667?

This bill would authorize health care providers in the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to recommend state medical marijuana programs to veterans when they believe they could benefit from them. VA healthcare providers would be allowed to complete forms reflecting these recommendations that are required by state medical marijuana programs.


Currently, the VA’s policy on medical marijuana is that its physicians and specialists are “prohibited from recommending and prescribing medical marijuana for PTSD and other pain-related issues.” This stems from the fact that marijuana is classified as a Schedule I drug  — a designation the federal government gives to drugs it views as having no accepted medical use and a high potential for abuse.

Impact

Veterans who could benefit from access to medical marijuana, VA physicians and specialists, medical marijuana producers, and the VA.

Cost of House Bill H.R. 667

A CBO cost estimate is unavailable.

More Information

In-Depth:

Medical marijuana programs have been established in 23 states plus the District of Columbia — so VA physicians and specialists treating veterans in those areas under this legislation would be able to recommend the use of medical marijuana. Presumably the four states that have legalized recreational marijuana, and any states that subsequently create medical marijuana programs would also be covered.


Of Note:

In 2014, the federal government allowed the University of Arizona to conduct a study on the use of medical marijuana to treat veterans suffering from post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Back in 2009, New Mexico became the first state to allow the use of medical marijuana for people with PTSD, and research showed that PTSD symptoms were reduced by 75 percent in patients using marijuana. It should be noted that the New Mexico study called for further research into whether pharmaceutical equivalents of marijuana that are legal could be effective substitutes.


Media:

Sponsoring Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) Press Release

Washington Post

Daily Caller

Americans For Safe Access (In Support)

Marijuana.com (In Support)

Smell the Truth (In Support)

Washington Post (Context)

(Photo Credit: Flickr user Trawin)

AKA

Veterans Equal Access Act

Official Title

To authorize Department of Veterans Affairs health care providers to provide recommendations and opinions to veterans regarding participation in State marijuana programs.

bill Progress


  • Not enacted
    The President has not signed this bill
  • The senate has not voted
  • The house has not voted
      house Committees
      Health
      Committee on Veterans' Affairs
    IntroducedFebruary 3rd, 2015
    This is the 21st century. The VA should be able to authorize any medicine that is known to work - and marijuana is known to help with many ailments both psychological and physiological.
    Like (19)
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    The VA (and by association the federal government) shouldn't prevent veterans from accessing medicine that could improve their quality of life in states where that medicine is legal.
    Like (10)
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    The VA should be held to the same legal consequences as the federal government, so they shouldn't be able to provide an illegal substance to patients. But the VA can make recommendations for state Marjuana dispensaries, where the substance is legal.
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    It's medical marijuana for a reason folks.
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    If you've never been an avid marijuana smoker then you'll never understand why this is a ridiculous question. They fought for us, let them smoke a joint and relax a little if they want to. They've earned it.
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    Absolutely. Cannabis is an essential nutrient for the human body; every cell is primed to receive and process cannabinoids. The prohibition of cannabis growth in all forms-on the premise of danger nonetheless-has got to be one of the most dishonest laws on the books!
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    Yes if medical marijuana can help vets to control pain without relying on prescription drugs then why not.
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    Let's make sure the VA can handle standard medical treatments before we add marijuana controversy to the mix.
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    Absolutely. It's proven to help so many ailments and to provide a measure of relief. It doesn't have the side effects of most of these lab created drugs either. It should be a no brainer, but all these no brainers would rather we eat a pill that's going to cause anal leaking than do this!
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    Pot is not a medical plant. Besides it is illegal under federal law
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    Yes, it has beneficial medical treatment uses. It should never have been illegal to begin with.
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    Hell yea helps with PTSD
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    VA employees work for the federal government and marijuana is federally illegal, doctors shouldn't be able to give their patients access to an illegal substance. This isn't a matter of if marijuana should be legal or not, currently it is illegal. We can't forget that just because it is legal in certain states that doesn't make you free from federal prosecution. Doctors shouldn't be giving patients something they could easily get arrested for. Most importantly federal employees shouldn't suggest their patients break federal law.
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    Marijuana is proven to treat PTSD without the many harmful side effects current pharmaceutical drugs entail
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    Not in support of Mary Jane, but the medical profession does support marijuana for multiple uses. So while VA doctors must uphold Federal Law, veterans with conditions amenable to marijuana should benefit from states allowing marijuana use.
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    It's safer than prescription pills and more cost effective. More people die every year to an accidental overdose with pharmacticl drugs than people have ever died with cannabis.
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    Marijuana is against the law. Marijuana is extremely harmful to one's health.
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    There are other legitimate ways to treat these problems.
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    Wonderful healing properties with the seeds and oil!
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    If it's legal in the state and completely necessary, then yes.
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