Gillibrand: VA Medical Marijuana Policy Discriminates Against Vets

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand wants the Department of Veterans Affairs to allow its doctors to discuss medical marijuana with patients in states where medical marijuana is legal.

Gillibrand held a news conference at her Manhattan office Sunday to urge a change in the current VA policy.

The policy prohibits VA doctors from recommending medical marijuana as a treatment option to veterans, even in states like New York where medical marijuana is legal. 

Gillibrand said veterans who live in states where medical marijuana is legal should be able to talk to their doctor about it as a treatment option, saying that the current policy discriminates against veterans.

“Instead of giving our veterans this modern treatment option, we are instead letting antiquated ideology get in the way of scientific progress,” Gillibrand said.

According to Dr. Jahan Marcu, of the group Americans for Safe Access, medical marijuana has been known to treat conditions that particularly affect veterans, including chronic pain, PTSD, traumatic brain injury and phantom limb pain, WCBS 880’s Stephanie Colombini reported.

“I’m always fight or flight and there’s been many times where cannabis has brought me back to a level of being a reasonable individual,” one veteran in support of Gillibrand told 1010 WINS’ Carol D’Auria. 

The change in policy would allow VA doctors in 23 states,as well as Washington D.C., where medical marijuana is legal, to recommend the drug.

“Our doctors should be allowed to follow the laws in the states where they practice medicine,” Gillibrand said. “The VA should stop putting politics in the way of medical judgment of their doctors.”

The policy is up for renewal Monday.

(TM and © Copyright 2016 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2016 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

 

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