Marijuana Advocates Use Veterans Affairs' Pot-Friendly Policy To Challenge U.S. Stance On The Drug
July 28, 2010
Dennis Romero, LA WeeklyMedical marijuana advocates have seized the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs' new marijuana-friendly policy to challenge federal law that deems there is no legitimate medical benefit for marijuana.
The group Americans for Safe Access (ASA) this week filed a legal brief in its own longstanding Ninth Circuit court case in California that challenges the federal government's assertion that "marijuana has no currently accepted medical use in treatment in the United States," according to a statement from the group.
Veterans Affairs last week bent following pressure from medical pot advocates who criticized its policy disallowing marijuana use among patients at its medical facilities. The department will allow vets to use prescribed pot in states where it's legal, but it still will not allow its own doctors to recommend the drug.
"Recognition of marijuana's therapeutic benefits by a federal agency makes it more difficult for the government to argue against marijuana's medical value," said ASA Chief Counsel Joe Elford, who filed the notice with the court. "The government's reasons for maintaining an outdated and harmful position on medical marijuana are running out."
Medical pot advocates believe that marijuana can be useful in treating post-traumatic stress disorder among veterans.
U.S. law treats marijuana, however, as a "schedule I" drug that has a high potential for abuse and no legitimate medical use, according to the DEA.