I received two of the monthly organization magazines I receive from the Veteran Organizations I belong to in the mail yesterday. As I looked them over I could not help notice the glaring absence of any reference to the grassroots Veteran effort to make medical marijuana available to our Veterans thru the Veterans Administration (VA).
The American Legion, The Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW), American Veterans (AMVETS), Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans (IAVA) and especially the Disabled American Veterans (DAV) are not only silent on the issue but seem to be ignoring it completely. Only groups that are specifically devoted to this issue like the Veterans for Medical Cannabis Access (VMCA) on the national level and local groups like Kentucky Veterans for Medical Marijuana at the state level, are currently urging the Federal Government make medical marijuana available for our Veterans thru the Veterans Administration.
The current Veterans Administration policy on medical marijuana, that Veterans who live in states that allow their citizens access to medical marijuana should not have their medical care and medicines withheld from them as a result of a VA urinalysis, was wrested from the VA as a result of the dedication and persistence of Mr. Michael Krawitz, Director of Veterans for Medical Cannabis Access. Some of our Veterans have been able to prevail at VA hospitals not in medical marijuana States by simply pointing out that the regulations of the VA itself do not call for the mandatory withholding of medical care should a Veteran test positive for THC the active ingredient in marijuana. The regulations of the VA call only for a Doctor to “consider” using pain contracts, urinalysis, or pill counts if he thinks a patient has a problem. No where in the Controlled Substances Act of 1970 or the regulations of the VA itself, is a Doctor required or even authorized to withhold medical care from our veterans as a part of some non judicial punishment meted by the VA for using medical cannabis!
We now have the Federal Government with an official policy at the VA regarding medical marijuana and an official Government policy that there is no such thing as medical marijuana. OOPS! The science and logic regarding the benefits of medical marijuana are no longer in doubt. Medical marijuana is most effective in treating Post Traumatic Stress (PTSD), neuropathic pain from traumatic injuries such as loss of a limb traumatic brain injury and a host of other conditions suffered by our Veterans.
So where are the major Veterans Organizations on the issue of Veteran access to medical marijuana? Are they concerned at all with making this wonderful medicine available to our Veterans? Their silence can only lead to one discernable conclusion, they are unwilling to, ‘make waves’ I guess fearing withdrawal of congressional or corporate support should they raise the issue. This makes sense to me as the many insurance companies these organizations are affiliated with would not want controversy to get in the way of selling insurance!