Memorial Day 2015 and Medical Marijuana

  • by Keith Stroup, NORML Legal Counsel May 25, 2015

    6_8_NORMLK.StroupPortrait_zAlong with family picnics and public concerts, as a country we wear poppies and decorate the graves of the fallen on the last Monday in May to honor our soldiers who have died while serving in the military. It is a holiday to remember their great sacrifices to protect our country, our citizens, and our way of life.

    As we pause to celebrate Memorial Day this year, it also gives us an occasion to consider the sacrifices made by all those who have served, including the tens of thousands of veterans living with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and other emotional problems resulting from their service to our country.

    While additional placebo-controlled research is needed to reconfirm the benefits of medical marijuana in reducing PTSD symptoms, existing research, along with anecdotal accounts from large numbers of PTSD sufferers, is sufficient today to justify its recommendation by physicians. Many combat veterans suffering from PTSD rely on cannabis to control their anger, nightmares and sometimes-violent rage.

    Currently, those physicians affiliated with the US Department of Veterans Affairs may not legally recommend the use of medical marijuana to those veterans who could benefit from it use, even in states that have legalized the medical use. But that finally appears to be changing.

    Offered as an amendment to a veterans affairs and military construction bill, a provision to expand medical marijuana coverage to US veterans was approved this week by the Senate Appropriations Committee, assuring it will be included in the version of the bill that will be sent shortly to the full senate for consideration. A similar amendment to a House military appropriations bill recently failed by only three votes on the floor of the House (210-213), setting up the need for a reconciliation process between the House and Senate versions of the appropriations bill, and the likelihood of the amendment being included in the final version of the bill approved by Congress.

    While this most recent progress in Congress to approve the medical use of marijuana as a treatment option for VA physicians treating veterans is promising, it is but one small step in a longer process that must continue forward before marijuana is recognized under federal law as a valuable therapeutic agent for many conditions and illnesses.

    But on this Memorial Day 2015, let’s honor our military men and women who have given the ultimate sacrifice, as well as those surviving veterans who have served their country with distinction, by committing ourselves to assuring that all Americans, and especially our veterans, have access to whatever therapies treat their symptoms and conditions most effectively and help them heal, including the option of medical marijuana; and by removing the remaining governmental obstacles that undermine this noble goal and interfere with the physician-patient relationship.

    22 responses to “Memorial Day 2015 and Medical Marijuana”

    1. Jane Peters says:

      I hope it helps them. And keep it organic so it will be less likely to harm people.

    2. Miles says:

      As a veteran who has PTSD, I can say with absolute certainty that marijuana has helped me to the extent that I am not dead. I probably would have killed myself by now without it. It is outrageous that people like Chris Christie and Jeb Bush would not only deny me this valuable medicine but actually advocate for continuing to lock people up if they choose to use it for any reason…

      Our Senators, Congressmen, Governors, and the President of the US all need to listen to the thousands of us that have been greatly helped by the plant they have all helped to demonize!

      Thank God for the internet which is the only reason we have information regarding cannabis beyond the 1930s propaganda machine some of them still, apparently, regard as the gospel truth… Idiots!!!

    3. Eric K. Johnson says:

      Let’s honor all of the victims of The War on (some) Drugs.

      They are casualties too!

      Does anyone suppose being locked in a cage for years on end might also cause P.T.S.D.?…and other “emotional problems”?

    4. Anonymous says:

      “…by committing ourselves to assuring that all Americans, and especially our veterans, have access to whatever therapies treat their symptoms and conditions most effectively and help them heal, including the option of medical marijuana; and by removing the remaining governmental obstacles that undermine this noble goal and interfere with the physician-patient relationship.”

      Sure sound good to me.

    5. vickia52 says:

      Yes Keith let’s honor all our vets and current enlistees. We live in the land of the free, so let’s do the right thing and legalize! The real sad point is the $ hungry leaches that take advantage of all of us. Just like hemp, easy , renewable crop that never fails to impress.

    6. McCraw says:

      Why people can successfully decide anything to have to do with another person without that person making his own decision on the manner is downright despicable an UnJust.
      And it still boggles my mind that Although, there are law’s. That still someone other than oneself still decide’s your a criminal for dispensing any amount of an thc to yourself.
      OMGosh the Crime, the Money, the terrible issue’s we can create, Now that’s Totally Insane.
      And Where will it ever stop… Ding
      Legalization who would’ve ever thought

    7. Thank you for your service Keith!

    8. Judy says:

      @vickia52 – The land of the free is a myth. It was an ideal that the founders of this country strived for. Unfortunately, many of our current leaders seem to be totally corrupt and strive to take away our freedoms. They make laws that make no sense in order to control us.

      I hope, before I die, that we can be a free country but I’m not holding my breath…

      Our leaders have made us the laughingstock of the world by having the highest incarceration rate in the world. The reason is not because we have the most criminal population in the world, it is because the rich and corrupt profit from it with their nonsensical laws.

    9. Julian says:

      17 U.S. Soldiers per day committ suicide from symptoms of PTSD treatable with %75 efficiency through the consumption of marijuana.

      Call the staff members of your Senators and Congressman. Speak only from the heart. It truly makes a difference.

      Why isn ‘t Dr. Sisley’s 20 years of Research on PTSD accepted by the FDA? Is it perhaps because Arizona’s attorney general threatened the University of Arizona before she could reach approval? “Anecdotal” my @$$, we owe our veterans the right to choose life over a prescription of VA narcotic overdose!

      Read the testimony of Sgt. Begin which Judge Mueller accepted as admissible evidence! U.S. Drug Policy is killing our veterans with a cocktail of opiate addiction while marijuana remains subject to incarceration! Let your Congressman know this American dishonor must end now!

    10. Carl Sheerer says:

      Well today we all got a message on our main Web site about Marijuana use is still a violation of employment. Rec or medical government employees still are forbidden to use. aren’t the military Federal employees? What the F, we shouldn’t have a pain relief or be able to sleep at night. This is just wrong I can’t wait to retire. Not that I want to use anything at work but it would be nice to smoke at home I don’t drink and I don’t sleep well

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