Veterans Equal Access Act
With a projected veteran populace of 21,973,000 people in the United States as of September 30th of 2014 the Veteran’s Affairs department of the United States has its hands full. Of that number approximately 7,143,360 which are approximately 32.5% of American veterans live within a state that has a medical marijuana compassionate care act or cannabis legislation already in place. The number is positively staggering considering the amount of potential patients this represents that are not being spoken for, until now.
U.S. House Representatives Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) and Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA), along with ten bipartisan Congressional cosponsors introduced the “Veterans Equal Access Act” (VEAA). The bill which was introduced in Washington D.C. is a valiant attempt by the House of Representatives to allow access for medical marijuana recommendations and information for American veterans through the Veteran’s Affairs department. It would allow for VA physicians to discuss information about medical marijuana and cannabis treatments as well as recommend the myriad of treatment options available to Veterans in state’s that already have an established compassionate care act.
The bill’s introduction by House Representative Blumenauer cites the importance of this legislation, “There are also nine states and the District of Columbia that now allow physicians to recommend medical marijuana for the symptoms of Post-Traumatic Stress (PTS), due to a growing body of anecdotal evidence suggesting that marijuana offers relief when nothing else has. The Veterans Equal Access Act would require the Secretary of Veterans Affairs to authorize physicians and other health care workers employed by the VA to provide recommendations and opinions regarding the participation of a veteran in a state medical marijuana program. This includes authorizing them to fill out any forms involved in the process of recommending medical marijuana. Veterans should not be forced outside of the VA system to seek a treatment that is legal in their state. VA physicians should not be denied the ability to offer a recommendation they think may meet the needs of their patient. I hope my colleagues will join me in supporting this effort.”
There are currently 9 states as well as the District of Columbia that allow for medical marijuana recommendations to patients suffering from traumatic brain injury and post-traumatic stress disorder. Recently the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies was formed to do research upon the medical benefits of medical marijuana and cannabis treatments for patients with PTSD. The study which has started this year was endorsed by the federal government and is taking place at the College of Medicine at the University of Arizona. The study is being run by Dr. Sue Sisley in conjunction with National Institute of Drug Abuse. This bill’s introduction is groundbreaking for veterans that could potentially gain relief from PTSD and traumatic brain injury from the use and help of medical marijuana and cannabis treatments.