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- Congratulations on joining the Biden-Harris Administration as Secretary of the Veterans Administration. My name is (say your name) and I am calling you today to ask for your help with extending VA authorization for veterans to use medical cannabis to treat a wide range of challenging conditions.
- Many of our nation’s veterans live in one of 36 states that have authorized patients meeting eligible conditions to use medical cannabis for treatment. However, veterans seeking use of medical cannabis face a confusing system of federal and state laws regarding physician engagement and affordable access.
- For example, veterans who rely on the VA as their primary healthcare provider are unable to receive medical cannabis recommendations from their doctors even if they live in a state with a medical cannabis program.
- And, veterans who use medical cannabis to treat their condition must also pay for this medication out-of-pocket with no financial support or subsidy from the VA.
- Meanwhile, research into applications of medical cannabis to treat PTSD, a condition that disproportionately affects veterans compared to the general population, is yielding some promise.
- Two 2020 studies, one conducted by Wayne State University in Michigan and the other by Brazil’s Federal University of Parana, demonstrate that cannabis can reduce anxiety in adults overwhelmed by trauma as well as reducing and eliminating traumatic memories.
- With promising research advancing, abundant legal state access available, and 1 in 5 military veterans making the choice to use state-authorized medical cannabis for treatment, it is time for the VA to reexamine its policies on cannabis.
- As a first step, I am asking for your help to repeal Section 3(b) of the Veterans Health Administration Directive 1315, so that cannabis is no longer defined as a drug of abuse.
- Doing so will enable VA physicians to consult with veterans on medical cannabis, and initiate an important process of integrating medical cannabis education, training and coordination with other federal departments and agencies to advance veteran-focused medical cannabis research.
- Thank you for your consideration of this important request.
U.S. Department of Veteran's Affairs
+1 (202) 461-4800