VHA Directive 2011-004 expires on January 31st. The directive prohibits U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs (VA) doctors from recommending medical marijuana to veterans in states where it is legal. The directive also prevents medical marijuana from being discussed at all for fear of veterans losing their benefits.
A letter from 21 bipartisan U.S. Senate and House members was sent to VA Secretary Robert McDonald this week urging him to allow VA doctors to discuss and recommend medical marijuana for veterans in states where it is legal, reports Yahoo Politics. The letter includes text stating: “This policy disincentivizes doctors and patients from being honest with each other.”
Democratic Senator, Jeff Merkley said, “We should be doing everything we can to make life easier for our veterans. Prohibiting VA doctors from talking to their patients about medical marijuana just doesn’t make sense.”
The Marijuana Policy Project (MPP) applauds the 21 politicians that signed this letter. MPP Director of Federal Policies, Robert Capecchi said, “For many of them it could mean the difference between a good quality of life and a poor quality of life. I worked on state levels for several years before moving to federal. I can’t tell you how many calls I got from veterans with chronic conditions, and you hear all the time from people who benefit substantially from being able to use medical marijuana.”