Survey: Three Of Four Military Veterans Would Consider Using Medical Cannabis

NEW YORK: Seventy-five percent of military veterans say that they would consider using either “cannabis or cannabinoid products as a treatment option,” according to member survey data compiled by the group Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA). The organization represents over 400,000 veterans nationwide.

Under existing federal regulations, physicians affiliated with the Department of Veteran Affairs are forbidden from providing medical cannabis recommendations, even in jurisdictions that legally permit private practitioners to do so.

Overall, 83 percent of respondents expressed support for legalizing medical cannabis access, and 68 percent believe that the Department of Veterans Affairs “should allow for research into cannabis as a treatment option.” Proposed federal legislation to direct the agency to conduct clinical trials on the use of cannabis for PTSD and for other conditions is currently pending in the US House and Senate.

Twenty percent of veterans surveyed acknowledged having previously used cannabis for medical purposes. Other studies have estimated that as many as 41 percent of veterans acknowledge having consumed cannabis for therapeutic purposes. Available data documents that cannabis is effective in the treatment of chronic pain and may potentially mitigate symptoms of post-traumatic stress, along with other conditions veterans commonly face.


For more information, contact Justin Strekal, NORML Political Director, at: (202) 483-5500. Additional information is available from the NORML fact-sheet, “Marijuana and Veterans Issues.”

First Ever Veterans-Focused Medical Bill Introduced In Senate

DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA: Senators Bill Nelson (D-FL) and Brian Schatz (D-HI) on Wednesday introduced legislation, The Veterans Medical Marijuana Safe Harbor Act, to expand and facilitate medical cannabis access to military veterans suffering from chronic pain, PTSD, and other serious medical conditions.

Under existing regulations, VA doctors are not permitted to fill out the mandatory paperwork necessary to recommend cannabis therapy in those 31 states that regulate it. Passage of The Veterans Medical Marijuana Safe Harbor Act ends this discrimination against veterans and prevents sanctions against VA doctors who wish to recommend medical cannabis treatment to their patients. The Act also encourages the Veterans Administration to promulgate medical cannabis research, and appropriates funding for scientific studies.

A recent American Legion poll found that nearly one in four veterans use marijuana to alleviate a medical condition. A 2017 review of over 10,000 studies by the National Academy of Sciences concluded, “There is conclusive or substantial evidence that cannabis and cannabinoids are effective for the treatment for chronic pain in adults.”

Similar legislation, The Veterans Equal Access Act (HR 1820) is pending in the House. You can contact your federal lawmakers in support of both of these bills using the NORML Action Alert.


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

Veterans Push For A Federal Study Of Hemp In Hopes Of Stemming Opioid Prescriptions At VA Facilities

DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA: A group of United States Armed Forces Veterans descended on the U.S. House of Representatives in Washington, D.C. Tuesday, April 17 to meet with members of the Cannabis Caucus and the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee. Their request is an urgent call for change in medical treatment options for Veterans: stop the dependency on opioids and compel the Veterans’ Affairs Administration to study CBD derived from industrial hemp as a legal alternative to opioids, the go-to drug in masking a variety of medical conditions.

Steve Danyluk, who spearheaded the legislative meeting with Veterans, is retired from the Marine Corps Reserves. His last position was working wounded issues at Walter Reed and Bethesda. That is where he became very troubled by what he saw.

“I witnessed what I believe is a policy of overmedicating wounded service men and women with opiates and other toxic medications, which led me to establish Warfighter Hemp,” said Steve Danyluk, LtCol, USMCR (RET.) and founder Warfighter Hemp. “CBD derived from Industrial Hemp provides much of the relief that these Veterans seek, at a fraction of the cost, without the psychoactive side effects, making it an ideal alternative to the various psychotropic and toxic medications in the VA’s dispensary. We welcomed the opportunity to share our CBD stories with legislators.”

Danyluk, along with three Veterans from Minnesota and Virginia, met with Congressman Jared Polis (D) Colorado, Congressman Earl Blumenauer (D) Oregon, and representatives from the offices of combat Veteran Congressman Moulton (D) Massachuetts, Congressman Don Young (R) Alaska, and Congressman Tim Walz (D) Minnesota. The group met individually with Congressman Brian Mast (R) Florida, himself a combat Veteran, along with an aide for Congressman Scott Peters (D) Ohio.

The group requested legislators sign a letter to Acting Secretary Robert Wilke, Department of Veterans Affairs, asking him to green light a study into CBD derived from Industrial Hemp.

 

 

Survey: More Than One In Five Military Vets Uses Cannabis Medicinally

INDIANA:  More than one in five military veterans engage in the use of cannabis for therapeutic purposes, according to nationwide survey data conducted on behalf of The American Legion. The Legion is the largest veterans’ advocacy organization in the United States.

Twenty-two percent of respondents said they “use cannabis to treat a mental or physical condition.” Thirty-nine percent affirmed they “know a veteran” who is using it medicinally. Eighty-three percent of respondents said they support legalizing medical cannabis federally.

Previously published survey data reports that military veterans consume medical cannabis at rates greater than those of the general population, often using it as an alternative to conventional medications in the treatment of pain and post-traumatic stress.

In late October, Democrat members of the US House Committee on Veteran’s Affairs authored a letter to VA Secretary David Shulkin demanding that the agency facilitate protocols to assess the efficacy of medical cannabis in veterans.

In September, representatives from The American Legion addressed a separate letter to VA Secretary Shulkin encouraging the federal agency to assist in an ongoing FDA-approved clinical trial assessing the safety and efficacy of various strains of cannabis in veterans with PTSD. To date, the VA has refused to assist in patient recruitment for the trial. The VA has yet to publicly respond to either letter.


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

Lawmakers Demand The VA Study Medical Marijuana

DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA:  Members of the US House Committee on Veteran’s Affairs are demanding that the Department of Veterans Affairs facilitate protocols to assess the efficacy of medical cannabis in veterans suffering from chronic pain conditions and post-traumatic stress.

Minnesota Democrat Tim Walz, along with nine other Democrat members of the Committee, authored an October 26, 2017 letter to VA Secretary David Shulkin stating: “[The] VA is uniquely situated to pursue research on the impact of medical marijuana on veterans suffering from chronic pain and PTSD given its access to world class researchers, the population it serves, and its history of overseeing and producing research resulting in cutting-edge medical treatments. … VA’s pursuit of research into the impact of medical marijuana on the treatment of veterans diagnosed with PTSD who are also experiencing chronic pain is integral to the advancement of health care for veterans and the nation. We ask VA to respond … with a commitment to the development of VHA-led research into this issue.”

In September, representatives from The American Legion addressed a separate letter to VA Secretary Shulkin encouraging the federal agency to assist in an ongoing, FDA-approved clinical trial assessing the safety and efficacy of various strains of cannabis in veterans with PTSD. To date, the VA has refused to assist in patient recruitment for the trial. The VA has yet to publicly respond to the Legion’s letter.

Survey data finds that military veterans frequently consume cannabis therapeutically, often using it as an alternative to conventional medications in the treatment of pain and post-traumatic stress.


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

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.

What Medical Cannabis Could Look Like For Our Veterans Forum

DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA:  In recent months, Americans nationwide have been faced with a startling awakening regarding opioid related overdoses and deaths. State legislatures and Congress alike are desperately seeking measures today that will address this unfolding epidemic. Meanwhile, the Department of Veteran’s Affairs is tasked with addressing near epidemic levels of not only Opioid related overdoses, but also opioid related suicides by America’s elite fighting forces and valued community of veterans.

“Within the US one person every 20 minutes dies of either an accidental and or intentional overdose to prescription pain medication. Doing the math that’s 3 every hour, 72 a day and so forth. It has been reported that our Veterans are overdosing at twice the rate of civilians….in other words 2 of the 3 causalities within the above hour time frame are Veterans,” says Jeffery Staker, a Marine veteran, DOD Firefighter, and founder of Hoosier Veterans for Medical Cannabis.

In a joint effort to address and cull this epidemic, several members of the Veteran Affairs Staff, the Congressional Cannabis Caucus, and Hoosier Veterans for Medical Cannabis have aligned to attend an intimate educational forum with the nations’ leading physicians. The forum will be held September 13th, from 12:00 – 2:00 p.m. at the Rayburn House Office Building, Gold Room, RM #2168.

“With veterans representing 7% percent of the American population, yet accounting for 20 percent of the national suicide rate, these numbers are unacceptable, and it is ‘all hands-on deck’ for all Americans to learn together and do more for those who selflessly serve our country,” said Brandon L. Wyatt, attorney and Army disabled combat veteran.

“We are excited to partner with the country’s top medical minds Donald Abrams, MD; Ziva D Cooper, PhD; Darryl Hudson, PhD; Mary Lynn Mathre, RN, MSH, CARN; and Jordan Tishler, MD; to raise awareness of the veterans’ suicide epidemic, explore arduous drug policies, and engage leaders in the government sector to professionally explore safer medical alternatives, in hopes to save lives every day,” said Staker, forum organizer.

“Veterans from all 50 states and US territories have fought tirelessly for freedom, in an academic setting, we are honored to address our injuries to continue to be of service to All Americans with the sincere hope of ending the opioid crisis”, Wyatt noted.

Joining the forum will be top Veteran advocate groups from across the country to include: Veterans Cannabis Group, Marijuana for Trauma, Veterans for Medical Cannabis Access, Hoosier Veterans for Medical Cannabis and Operation EVAC, along with the Veteran founded cannabis educational organization Patients Out of Time.

To RSVP Contact Hoosier Veterans For Medical Cannabis: hoosiervetsformc@gmail.com