VA says No to Medical Marijuana for Military Veterans
Posted by Sagar Satapathy on May 01, 2015.
The House of Representatives in Virginia (VA) has defeated a bipartisan amendment that would increase military veterans' access to medical marijuana. The amendment had a narrow defeat. It secured the support of 210 lawmakers, but 213 opposed it. Most Republicans opposed the bill, while majority of Democrats voted in its favor.
A similar amendment had failed on the floor of the House last year too by a narrow margin. Tom Angell, chairman of Marijuana Majority, criticized the verdict, saying the House voted to continue a senseless rule that prevents doctors from treating military veterans with serious ailments using marijuana.
As per the estimates and research papers, around 30 percent of military veterans who served in Iraq and Afghanistan, suffer from PTSD and depression. As it is believed that marijuana may help cure anxiety, flashbacks and depression, which are part of PTSD symptoms, there has been a demand to allow military veterans to get full access to medical marijuana. However, majority of Republicans in VA are not relenting.
In a letter this week urging lawmakers to pass the amendment, Dr. E. Deborah Gilman, a recently retired VA Physician, said it's "cruel to deny access to any medication for any patient," especially for veterans. But, his plea was not heard. The amendment was proposed by Reps. Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore.), Denny Heck (R-Nev.), Sam Farr (D-Calif.), Dana Rohrabacher (R-Calif.), Tom Reed (R-N.Y.), Dina Titus (D-Nev.), Gabbard (D-Hawaii), Barbara Lee (D-Calif.) and Ruben Gallego (D-Ariz.).
Currently, 23 states in the U.S.A. have legalized marijuana for medical purposes and 13 others have legalized marijuana extracts for specific medical uses. However, pot still remains illegal under federal law.