The United States Department of Veterans Affairs said that they will consider allowing benefits to go toward medical marijuana treatment for veterans. But there’s a big IF, so don’t hold your breath!
According to VA Secretary Robert Wilkie, they will do this if cannabis gets legalized by the federal government. So, until this happens, calls by veterans for the VA to support medical cannabis treatment will be naught.
“Cannabis is against federal law.”
When he was asked whether medical cannabis was among the alternative therapies that the department would explore for sick veterans, Wilkie flatly replied that it is against federal law.
A moderator at a National Press Club forum then asked if the VA would be OK with medical cannabis for veterans if federal laws changed. To this, Wilkie said, “If the federal laws change and there is medical evidence, of course, we will look into it.”
“But the federal law is pretty clear,” Wilkie stressed out.
There have been legislative attempts by certain lawmakers to allow the VA to authorize doctors to prescribe cannabis to veterans. However, none of these proposed bills have been enacted into law. Or at least not yet. What’s more, internal department policy prohibits these activities, even at facilities operating in states where medical cannabis is legal.
The most VA medical practitioners can do for now is to discuss medical cannabis with their patients. They still cannot fill out state forms to help the veterans obtain the treatment.