A new bill was officially presented to Congress on April 16th by the legislation’s authors Rep. Tim Walz and Rep. Phil Roe, HR5520, or the VA Medicinal Cannabis Research Act. If passed, the bill would instruct the federal agency Veterans Affairs to, “conduct and support research relating to the efficacy and safety of forms of cannabis.”
In just one week’s time, the veterans cannabis research bill has already amassed co-sponsorship from 39 legislators representing both sides of political aisle. Medical cannabis research will be helpful in the treatment of post-traumatic stress disorder and chronic pain illnesses for American soldiers returning from war.
Cannabis is still in Schedule I of Controlled Substances Act.
As Cannabis is still a part of Schedule I of Controlled Substances Act, federal law prevents Department of Veterans Affairs’ doctors and psychiatrists from studying the effects of cannabis to see if it might help veterans with PTSD or major injuries.
As the Department of Veteran Affairs is wholly reliant on federal funding, past VA Directors have both passively and actively rejected medical cannabis as a treatment option for veterans suffering from PTSD, chronic pain, and other post-war ailments.
The American Legion.
The American Legion, having 2 million members, began advocating for marijuana research two years ago. The group commissioned a poll in November which shows that every ‘one in five veterans’ use marijuana to alleviate symptoms of a physical or a mental medical condition. It was also found that more than 90 percent of veterans support expanding research into medical marijuana and over 80 percent support allowing federal doctors to prescribe it to veterans.