As a country, many support troops with parades and national days of honor. Yet when those same veterans seek help ease the mental and physical pain they endure as a result of fighting for our freedoms, their pleas often fall on deaf ears. That’s why many veterans find themselves standing up and fighting once again, this time in a battle for their own lives in the ongoing war over medical marijuana.
A group of veterans in Louisiana has been on the front lines pushing for legalization of medical cannabis in the state. According to the Leesville Daily Leader, they want to help veterans who suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder as well as chronic pain that developed as a result of their service time. Even though these veterans know medical marijuana to be a safe and effective form of treatment for these issues, using it would make them a criminal in the country they risked their life to defend due to the Controlled Substances Act, 21 U.S.C. Section 812, which classifies marijuana as a Schedule I narcotic with no medical benefits. The group hopes to at least change the law in Louisiana so the state can join 29 others in legalizing marijuana. Furthermore, they also recognize that legalization would be beneficial to all residents, so they are putting their efforts behind cannabis education. The group knows legalization has become particularly critical for veterans right now as the opioid crisis is coming to a fever pitch. As the damaging effects of opioids are becoming more widely known, government officials are pressuring doctors to cut down on prescriptions. It is obviously important to limit these harmful and addictive drugs from the mainstream, but our experienced Orange County medical marijuana attorneys know it needs to be done in a responsible manner that benefits patients. At current, many veterans have been prescribed opioids for pain and PTSD and pulling them off the drugs cold turkey can be risky. Many veterans are also experiencing one of the other negatives of opioids: users are highly susceptible to resistance to the drug over time. This leads to veterans both addicted to opioids and also still suffering from the ailment that led them to the prescription in the first place. This is precisely why so many veterans are turning to marijuana, both to ease pain and also to help wean themselves off more harmful legally prescribed drugs.
In California, we are very fortunate to be the first state to legalize medical marijuana with the Compassionate Use Act of 1996. Even so, veterans in California cannot be recommended marijuana through a Veterans Affairs health care provider because they must abide by federal law. Patients must seek a recommendation through another physician. The VA Department has made it clear, though, that veterans will not be turned away for cannabis use. They are encouraged to discuss medical marijuana use with their VA doctor so the physician can consider it in a broader treatment plan. Regardless, it is outrageous that men and women who courageously served our country must jump through such hoops to receive the treatment they need. This is why our attorneys humbly stand next to these veterans to fight for their rights as they so bravely fought for ours.
The Los Angeles CANNABIS LAW Group represents growers, dispensaries, collectives, patients, defendants, workers and those facing criminal marijuana charges. Call us at 714-937-2050.
VA and Marijuana – What Veterans Need to Know, U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs
More Blog Entries:
American Legion Joins the Cannabis Cause to Improve Veterans’ Lives, Aug. 15, 2017, Medical Marijuana Legal Blog