Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA) marked Veterans Day by advertising a bill she introduced that would efficiently legalize healthcare marijuana for military veterans.
In a press release and e-mail blast for the national advocacy group NORML, the congresswoman discussed the require to expand access to cannabis for these who’ve served, stating that research demonstrate the plant can treat symptoms of circumstances that typically afflict veterans such as post-traumatic tension disorder.
Lee mentioned that as the daughter of a veteran, the concern is especially vital for her.
“Congress need to do much more to make sure every single veteran has a roof more than their head, to make sure our veterans come house to a job that pays them a living wage, and to make sure our veterans have access to the wellness care solutions they deserve,” she mentioned in the press release. “That involves enhancing veterans’ access to healthcare marijuana.”
“That’s why I introduced H.R. 1151, the Veterans Health-related Marijuana Secure Harbor Act, to empower veterans and their medical doctors to make informed choices about the use of healthcare marijuana without the need of political interference,” she mentioned. “The existing federal prohibition on cannabis is dangerous and counterproductive. Politicians really should by no means stand amongst our veterans and their wellness care.”
The Veterans Health-related Marijuana Secure Harbor Act was introduced in February, and the Residence version at the moment has 3 cosponsors, such as Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL). The Senate companion version was filed by Sen. Brian Schatz (D-HI) and has two cosponsors, Sens. Tim Kaine (D-VA) and Bernie Sanders (I-VT), who signed on final week.
In her e-mail for NORML on Monday, Lee mentioned that cannabis prohibition has disproportionately impacted communities of colour, but the policy also “falls challenging upon is our nation’s veterans.”
The congresswoman noted that healthcare cannabis is extensively utilised by veterans, however medical doctors at the U.S. Division of Veterans Affairs (VA) are not permitted to fill out suggestions, even in states exactly where it is legal. That would alter below her legislation, she mentioned.
Politicians really should by no means stand amongst our veterans and their wellness care. That is why I introduced the Veterans Health-related Marijuana Secure Harbor Act to empower veterans and their medical doctors to make informed choices about the use of healthcare marijuana without the need of political interference.
— Barbara Lee (@BLeeForCongress) November 11, 2019
“This year, we can and need to succeed in passing this vital legislation and guarding the rights of veterans to access healthcare remedy and serving these who served us,” she wrote, linking to a web page exactly where folks can send a letter in help of her bill to their personal representatives.
“Prohibiting VA medical doctors from recommending cannabis to qualifying sufferers, even though continuing to rely on pharmaceuticals drugs like opioids as a remedy, is each a harmful and illogical policy,” she mentioned. “We know healthcare marijuana can be an powerful and secure remedy for veterans and it is time to cease creating them seek private, out-of-network physicians to access it.”
“I sponsored the Veterans Health-related Marijuana Secure Harbor Act since I know it will make an instant good effect on the lives of our veterans. After enacted, veterans will be capable to access healthcare marijuana remedy without the need of the added challenge of accessing a private, non-VA doctor. Collectively, we can collect sufficient help to pass this legislation, but it will only take place if sufficient Americans stand up and demand it. Please inform your member of Congress to help the Veterans Health-related Marijuana Secure Harbor Act.”
VA below the Trump administration has resisted marijuana reform legislation, with officials from the division testifying in a committee hearing in April that it opposed a number of proposals, such as one particular that would demand VA to conduct investigation into the healthcare rewards of cannabis for veterans.
Former VA Secretary David Shulkin, whose division also declined to take action on veterans cannabis difficulties, not too long ago mentioned that he’s in favor of rising investigation into the plant’s therapeutic possible and blamed employees for misinforming him about what VA was capable of carrying out to that finish even though he was in workplace.
Lee, who serves as co-chair of the Congressional Cannabis Caucus, also discussed cannabis reform in a video statement that was broadcast at a Drug Policy Alliance conference in St. Louis on Saturday. She didn’t address veterans difficulties especially but rather spoke about broader reform efforts to federally legalize marijuana.
“We all know that the federal prohibition on marijuana has led to the overcriminalization and mass incarceration, specifically in black and brown communities,” she told activists in the taped message. “That is why we require to make sure that as the cannabis movement marches forward, it does so hand-in-hand with efforts to address these racial inequities head on.”
“I believe we’re at a pivotal moment for the cannabis movement. There is so significantly excitement for the progress we’ve produced and for exactly where we are pushing to go,” the congresswoman mentioned. “If we do this right—by guaranteeing that we address the legacy of the failed war on drugs and center our operate in restorative justice—there is no stopping us.
“I want you good results for your conference and the operate ahead,” she mentioned. “Stay woke.”
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Photo courtesy of Rep. Barbara Lee.