Medical Marijuana for Veterans One Step Closer Thanks to Brian Schatz

Medical Marijuana for Veterans Might Become a Reality Thanks to Sen. Brian Schatz

The federal government may have just taken a big step forward with regards to providing medical marijuana for veterans. Cannabis rights activists have just gotten another powerful political ally in the form of Democrat and U.S. Senator Brian Schatz.

The Senator announced a piece of legislation Thursday, that could have massive implications for the health of American Veterans. The bill would allow doctors of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs to prescribe medical marijuana for veterans in the 31 states where medical cannabis is legal.

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The Details of Brian Schatz Bill

Senator Schatz in Hawaii giving an address
Senator Brian Schatz bill does more than just provide medical marijuana for veterans, it would shield them from possession charges as well (image via youtube)

One of the more intriguing aspects of this piece of legislation is its introduction of safe-harbor protection for veterans. This portion of the bill shields veterans from law enforcement, prohibiting them from being charged for marijuana possession.

In a recent news release, Senator Brian Schatz stressed that this bill would do more than simply providing medical marijuana for veterans. It is a way of aiding a community afflicted by the opioid crisis.

“In the 31 states where medical marijuana is legal, patients and doctors are able to see if marijuana helps with pain management. Our veterans deserve to have that same chance. This bill does right by our veterans, and it can also shed light on how medical marijuana can help with the nation’s opioid epidemic.”

The bill would also permit research by VA into medical marijuana for veterans. This could help the scientific community understand how marijuana could better help service men and women with conditions such as chronic pain, PTSD, traumatic brain injuries, anxiety, and many others.

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Further Implications of Medical Marijuana for Veterans

American soldier in marijuana field, Cannabis for veterans
Allowing the VA to research medical marijuana could set a president for how cannabis is treated at a federal level (image via Rolling Stone)

Military service men and women, perform a valiant, high-risk profession. They deserve only the most effective forms of treatment for the injuries they sustain in defense of our freedom. It just so happens that scientific research continues to confirm that medical marijuana for veterans is an effective treatment option.

If Brian Schatz bill is to become law, it could put the United States Military on the cutting edge of cannabis research. Cannabis is currently federally illegal and its schedule 1 status prevents any substantial research into the plant. However, granting the VA an exemption to this ruling could do much to change this. A body of domestic medical research into the plant, combined with changing opinions could turn the tide for cannabis prohibition.

The safe-harbor clause of Brian Schatz bill technically creates a two-tiered system of law enforcement. In a sense, it gives privileges of extra legal protections to one community over the rest of the United States. However, Americans need not fret. Ultimately, providing medical marijuana for veterans is of an overwhelming good, not just to the Armed Forces, but also to the general population.

By shielding veterans from marijuana possession charges, the United States has taken a historic leap in the direction of cannabis rights. For the first time, this would end prohibition entirely, for one segment of the population.

It may not be too idealistic to think that Brian Schatz bill may set a precedent at the federal level and open the floodgates for similar broader legislation. That is if it is able to run the gantlet of American democracy.

By: Stefan Hosko
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