The State of Medical Cannabis for Veterans

Moderated By:

Stephen Mandile, Iraq Veteran; CEO and Co-Founder, United Mass Wellness; Co-Founder, Cannabis Advancement Series

Panelists:

Wayne Smith, Vietnam Veteran; Board Member, IAVA and National Veterans Legal Services Program Inc.; Chapman Dickerson, Army Veteran; CEO, BASK, Inc.

While there have been many pieces of legislation regarding medical cannabis and veterans that have reached Congress, none have been passed. Currently in the House Veterans Affairs committee with 84 Representatives sponsoring it is H.R.712 - VA Medicinal Cannabis Research Act of 2019 which would direct the Secretary of Veterans Affairs to carry out a clinical trial of the effects of cannabis on certain health outcomes of adults with chronic pain and post-traumatic stress disorder, and for other purposes. We need policy that creates a pathway at the Department of Veterans Affairs for medical cannabis. To date, there are 33 states where veterans have access to medical cannabis and with the help of private businesses can step up and work to lower barriers and stigma for veterans that have gone or seek to go from medications with little to no cost prescribed to them as an earned benefit from the VA. This will help reduce the use of medications with very serious side effects including overdose death which is a current health epidemic across the country, as well as suicidal thinking and behavior which is believed to be part of problem of the veteran suicide crisis causing 20 veterans a day to end their lives for over a decade. Veterans deserve all forms of harm reduction that will help them achieve an improved quality of life.