Thu. Apr 25th, 2024

Veterans groups join calls for Biden administration to reschedule marijuana

By 37ci3 Feb22,2024



WASHINGTON — Some of the nation’s largest veterans groups are urging the Biden administration to “rapidly” ease federal restrictions on marijuana, joining a growing number of calls to replace the drug after six months. The Department of Health and Human Services recommended doing so.

In the letter, first obtained by NBC News, veterans groups urged the Justice Department, which oversees the Drug Enforcement Administration, to act quickly.

Groups including Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America, AMVETS, American GI Forum, American Legion, and Blind Veterans wrote that “men and women who have served in the U.S. Armed Forces often face difficult physical and mental challenges after returning home.” Association and Minority Veterans of America. “So we hope that in treating the wounds of war — both visible and invisible — our military and veterans will have access to the widest range of treatments possible.”

Cannabis is currently classified as a Schedule 1 drug, which means it has a high potential for abuse and no accepted medical use in treatment alongside substances like heroin. The Department of Health and Human Services recommended changing it to Schedule 3, which is less restrictive.

President Joe Biden ordered a review of federal marijuana policy in October 2022, and the DEA is expected to make a formal decision, potentially in the coming weeks, according to two people familiar with the plans.

While the Department of Veterans Affairs is prohibited from denying medical services to veterans who use marijuana, the agency does not offer medical marijuana as a treatment for veterans or pay for medical marijuana prescriptions from any source — even in the more than 40 states where some form of marijuana is legal. Last summer, the VA and the Department of Defense published a joint recommendation against the use of marijuana to treat post-traumatic stress disorder.

However, veteran groups wrote that their members want this option, citing a Survey conducted by the American Legion 82% of respondents said they want medical cannabis as a federally legal treatment option.

Without the DEA’s decision, the groups said, “many veterans are uncomfortable discussing their cannabis use with VA providers because of fear of retaliation.”

“We understand that the administrative planning process involves several steps, but the sooner the DEA moves forward with the cannabis reclassification, the sooner it can potentially be integrated. [Veterans Health Administration] — is the largest healthcare system of our nation,” they write.

The letter is as follows increased momentum in Congress to regulate federal cannabis policy. Lawmakers in both chambers and from both parties have introduced a number of bills related to veterans and cannabis over the past year, including legislation that would allow VA doctors to prescribe medical marijuana to patients in states where it is legal, and separate account This would require the VA to study the different effects of cannabis on veterans with chronic pain and PTSD.

major, two-way package passed the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee, chaired by Sen. Jon Tester, D-Mont., but was ultimately blocked by Republicans.

Voters increasingly favor legalizing marijuana. A Gallup Poll An October poll found that 70% of American adults support legalization, an all-time high, including 55% of Republicans and more than two-thirds of voters under 55.

Last month, a group of Democrats, including Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer of New York, sent a letter to the DEA cancel the mystery plan entirelyIt highlights a “window of opportunity that hasn’t existed in decades” for the Biden administration to do so.



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By 37ci3

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