Senators Push Bill to Legalize Medical Cannabis for Veterans

September 6, 2018

Two U.S. Senators introduced legislation on Wednesday, September 5, 2018, that would allow doctors at the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to prescribe medical cannabis to veterans in the 31 states that have established medical-marijuana programs. The legislation was sponsored by Senators Bill Nelson (D-FL) and Brian Schatz (D-HI).

According to a press release from Senator Nelson, the bill would create a temporary, five-year safe harbor protection for veterans who use medical cannabis. The bill would also direct the VA to conduct research on the effects of medical cannabis on veterans who are in pain and how prescribing cannabis to veterans can be used to reduce opioid abuse. Veterans are currently twice as likely as civilians to die from opioid overdose.

“Federal law prohibits VA doctors from prescribing or recommending medical marijuana to veterans,” Nelson said in the press release. “This legislation will allow veterans in Florida and elsewhere the same access to legitimately prescribed medication, just as any other patient in those 31 states would have.”

For more information or to view a copy of the bill, please visit the press release link below.