American Legion Supports Expanding Veterans Access To Medical Cannabis

DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA: The American Legion, the nation’s largest wartime veterans service organization, has adopted a resolution calling on federal officials to expand veterans’ access to medical marijuana.

The resolution, passed last week at the Legion’s annual convention, urges the “United States government to permit V.A. medical providers to be able to discuss with veterans the use of marijuana for medical purposes and recommend it in those states where medical marijuana laws exist.”

The language is similar to pending legislation in Congress, H.R. 1820: The Veterans Equal Access Act. In July, members of the Senate Appropriations Committee voted 24 to 7 to include similar language as an amendment to the 2018 Military Construction, Veterans Affairs and Related Agencies Appropriations bill. Identical language in the House was blocked from consideration by House Rules Chairman Pete Sessions(R-TX).

Last year, majorities in both the US House and Senate voted to include similar language as part of the Fiscal Year 2017 MilCon-VA bill. However, Republicans sitting on the House Appropriations Committee elected to remove the language from the bill during a concurrence vote.

Federal policy prohibits V.A. doctors – including those residing in legal medical cannabis states – from providing the paperwork necessary to complete a recommendation, thus forcing military veterans to seek the advice of a private, out-of-network physician.

Both the American Legion and AMVETS issued public calls last year in support of federal marijuana law reforms. 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.

For more information, contact Justin Strekal, NORML Political Director, at (202) 483-5500.

Regulating Water Use By Pot Farms

CALIFORNIA: The California Assembly plans to hold an unprecedented hearing on April 15 to examine a proposal to regulate a controversial, billion-dollar state crop: marijuana.

At first glance, Humboldt County Assemblymember Jim Wood’s proposed regulation bill, the “Marijuana Watershed Protection Act” looks innocuous: It would add a single paragraph to the state’s water code, and one to the health and safety code. But, in truth, AB 243 represents a groundbreaking new vision for the future of California cannabis agriculture — especially when it comes to water use.

What’s In The Historic Medical Marijuana Bill Being Unveiled On Tuesday

DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA: The historic medical marijuana bill a trio of senators plan to unveil on Tuesday has a bit of something for everyone.

The bill, which activists describe as a first for the Senate, would end the federal prohibition on medical marijuana and implement a number of critical reforms that advocates of both medical and recreational marijuana have been seeking for years, according to several people familiar with the details of the proposal. It would reclassify the drug in the eyes of the Drug Enforcement Administration, allow for limited inter-state transport of the plant, expand access to cannabis for research, and make it easier for doctors to recommend the drug to veterans and easier for banks to provide services to the industry.

“It’s the most comprehensive medical marijuana bill in Congress,” said Bill Piper, director of national affairs for the Drug Policy Alliance, one of several groups consulted for the bill. The Compassionate Access, Research Expansion, and Respect States (CARERS) act grew out of an amendment proposed last year by Sens. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) and Rand Paul (R-Ky.) and is being introduced by those two senators in conjunction with Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.).