The United States Senate has approved a bill that will enable physicians at the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to recommend medical cannabis to Veterans living in states where the plant is legal.
On Wednesday, the Military Construction, Veterans Affairs, and Related Agencies measure and its cannabis amendment was approved by senators. The United States House passed a similar bill containing amended cannabis regulations earlier this year as well.
The Senate and House will need to collaborate and craft a final bill that will be sent to the president’s office before potentially being signed into law. The bill does not promote Veteran usage of cannabis, but rather specifically prohibits discouraging it.
“None of the funds appropriated or otherwise made available to the VA in this Act may be used in a manner that would interfere with the ability of a Veteran to participate in a medicinal marijuana program approved by a state,” says the .
“It will not deny any services from the department to a Veteran who is participating in such a program or limit or interfere with the ability of a health care provider of the department to make appropriate recommendations, fill out forms, or take steps to comply with such a program.”
All legal treatment options must be considered, says U.S. senator
U.S. Senator Jeff Merkley, responsible for the Senate’s cannabis amendment in the bill, told media that Veterans faced too many roadblocks in getting the care they deserved and that doctors in the VA should be able to discuss the entire range of legal treatment options with their patients.
He says that he will be actively working with colleagues in the country’s House and Senate to ensure cannabis treatment options are readily available for American Veterans.
“Outdated laws should not arbitrarily preclude VA doctors from prescribing the treatment that’s best for Veterans. Our Veterans have given too much to be met with roadblocks to the care they need,” said Merkley.
Ninety per cent of U.S. military Veterans who use medical cannabis say that it improves their overall quality of life, according to a recent study conducted by the University of Massachusetts, the University of Utah and other cannabis research institutes published in the journal Clinical Therapeutics.
Certain cannabis companies have engaged with Veteran support programs in recent days. The day after the aforementioned bill was passed, Florida’s Trulieve Cannabis Corp. (CSE: TRUL) (OTCQX: TCNNF) announced that it was running a campaign throughout November in partnership with Disabled American Veterans.
Proceeds from discounts and promotions offered by the company this month will go toward benefitting Veterans and their families.
Last month, Canada’s Aurora Cannabis Inc. (NASDAQ: ACB) (TSX: ACB) launched the new cultivar “Honour,” and will be giving 5 per cent of proceeds derived from its sales to Canadian Veteran organizations.
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