In November 2018, voters in Missouri approved a new medical marijuana program by a convincing margin of 65 to 35 percent, but since then, the state’s veterans have been waiting for an answer. Veterans want to get their cannabis covered by the government—would they have the chance to talk to their VA doctors about switching from opioids to marijuana without risking their benefits?
The St. Louis Post-Dispatch states that Missouri Veterans Commission Executive Director Grace Link recently declared new regulations which clarify the answer, but for now, the answer is still no.
Link said that they have to meet VA standards and comply with federal rules.
Due to the possible barriers involved with a drug that is not authorized by the federal government, 1,350 nursing home residents Missouri, and the workers that function at the homes, are officially restricted by Missouri law from using the state-legal medical marijuana system. The official decision is based on system funding. The cost to run the state’s veteran health care system is about $80 million, and part of that money originates from the federal government.
This is not an issue to under look. According to a 2017 American Legion research on 1,360 veterans, it was discovered that those who have served in the armed forces have a high probability of seeking medical cannabis treatment than a normal individual. Twenty-two percent of that research stated that they were presently utilizing cannabis as a treatment for several medical conditions. Several VA reports have suggested that veterans have high chances to suffer from chronic pain than other US citizens.
Nevertheless, veterans’ families are in high favor of the increased scientific and private access to marijuana. According to the 2017 American Legion survey, 92 percent of all veteran households were in support of more cannabis research, and 83 percent were in favor of legalization.
All over the nation, veterans’ groups have found a way to show the positive effects that have resulted from the use of cannabis. In some states such as Oklahoma and Massachusetts, veterans have been prioritized when marijuana has become available.
A few lawmakers have been forced to address the barriers that lie between veterans and their medicine. In 2018, a bi-partisan pair of Congressmen—Democratic Massachusetts Rep. Seth Moulton and Republican Florida Rep. Matt Gaetz—established three legislations linked to veterans and cannabis.
Among the three legislations, one suggested making cannabis legal for veterans to discuss their usage of medical cannabis with their VA doctors without fearing to lose benefits. The other bill would establish a system where the VA gathers information on vets and their usage of marijuana. The third bill would sponsor VA partnerships with cannabis-related studies.
Since the people of Missouri voted to legalize medicinal cannabis, the state has received millions in application fees. Once the system is in progress, Link said its tax revenues would probably add $20 million yearly to the Missouri Veterans’ Health and Care Fund, which will sponsor the cost of operation from residential establishments, veteran job training, and health care system costs.