Veterans seeking health care through the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) are often frustrated when seeking medical marijuana to treat their conditions. Medical marijuana remains illegal at the federal level, so VA doctors can’t recommend it.
According to WABC News in New York, “During a recent Congressional hearing exploring bills that would allow for expanded access to medical marijuana for veterans, representatives for the VA indicated they would continue to oppose such policies as long as marijuana remains illegal at the federal level.”
Under VA policy, veterans can’t be denied benefits because of marijuana use, and vets are encouraged to discuss their marijuana use with their providers, but VA clinicians cannot recommend medical marijuana or issue paperwork allowing veterans to obtain medical marijuana legally through state dispensaries. The VA won’t pay for medical marijuana either.
In a 2019 survey by the Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America, 75% of veterans surveyed said they would be “very interested” in using medical marijuana if it were available, while only 20% said they had ever used it for medicinal purposes. The vast majority—83%—said it should be legal for medicinal purposes.