Congress Needs To Pass The ‘Veterans Equal Access Act’


Our service men and women deserve everything that our country can provide, especially when it comes to healthcare. A veteran should never be denied medicine or medical advice that can help them for any reason. However, sadly, veterans are denied medical advice when it comes to medical cannabis all the time, and not for medical reasons. They are denied medical advice for purely political reasons.

Up until 2011, doctors at VA hospitals were required to not treat veterans for pain if the patient was a medical cannabis user. Since 2011, it has been up to the doctor’s discretion if they want to treat the patient, but they are still forbidden from recommending medical cannabis, even when they know it would benefit the patient.

Last year a bill was introduced to fix this injustice. The ‘Veterans Equal Access Act‘ would allow VA doctors to recommend medical cannabis if they felt it would help the patient. Considering that many veterans suffer from pain, PTSD, and other ailments due to their service, this bill would help a lot of our service men and women.

It’s time that Congress stood up for what’s right when it comes to veterans and medical cannabis. Our veterans served our country proudly, and we owe it to them to help them in every way that we can. VA doctors shouldn’t be restricted because of political views. If any medicine, cannabis or otherwise, could help a patient, the doctor should be able to recommend it to them.

Anthony, a longtime cannabis law reform advocate, was Chief Petitioner and co-author of Measure 91, Oregon's cannabis legalization effort. He served as director of both the New Approach Oregon and Vote Yes on 91 PACs, the political action committees responsible for the state's legalization campaign. As director of New Approach Oregon, Anthony continues to work towards effectively implementing the cannabis legalization system while protecting small business owners and the rights of patients. He sits on the Oregon Marijuana Rules Advisory Committee and fights for sensible rules at the legislature as well as city councils and county commissions across the state. Anthony helps cannabis business comply with Oregon's laws and advises advocates across the country. He also serves as content director of both the International Cannabis Business Conference and the Oregon Marijuana Business Conference, helping share the vision of moving the cannabis industry forward in a way that maintains the focus on keeping people out of prison and protecting patients. He was a member of the Oregon Health Authority Rules Advisory Committee, assisting the drafting of the administrative rules governing Oregon’s state-licensed medical marijuana facilities. He first co-authored and helped pass successful marijuana law reform measures while a law student at the University of Missouri-Columbia School of Law. He passed the Oregon Bar in 2005 and practiced criminal defense for two years before transitioning to working full-time in the political advocacy realm. His blogs on Marijuana Politics are personal in nature and don't speak for or reflect the opinions of any group or organization.