New bill supports medical marijuana research for vets
- By Sherkiya Wedgeworth
- May 09, 2018
House lawmakers this week advanced a bill that would push the Department of Veterans Affairs to do more research into the safety and effectiveness of medical marijuana.
The bill—the Medicinal Cannabis Research Act of 2018—introduced by Rep. Lou Correa (D-Calif.), House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs Ranking Member Tim Walz (D-Minn.) and Chairman Phil Roe (R-Tenn.), passed the committee May 8.
It directs the VA to perform medical research on the safety and efficacy of medical marijuana in treating post-traumatic stress disorder and chronic pain.
According to a 2017 American Legion survey, 92 percent of veterans support research into the efficacy of medical cannabis for mental and physical conditions and 82 percent want to have medical cannabis as a federally-legal treatment option.
“Today’s vote moves us one step closer to giving our veterans an alternative and getting our warriors the relief they deserve,” Correa said in a statement applauding the advancement of the legislation. “For veterans throughout my district, cannabis is an invaluable medicine for managing their pain,” she continued, adding, “I am honored to see such support in finally taking action to help veterans in need of medical cannabis.”
As part of the bill, the VA must also provide Congress with a report on how they plan to conduct the research. Because marijuana is classified as a Schedule 1 drug, which are defined as not having a medical use, federal research is highly restricted.
As of introduction, the legislation was co-sponsored by 28 Democrats and 7 Republicans.