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Lawmakers Look Into Medical Marijuana to Help Veterans Relying on Opioid Medication

Jul 8, 2021

Tampa, FL (Law Firm Newswire) July 8, 2021 – It is well-known that many veterans suffer service-related injuries and disabilities requiring ongoing medical treatment. Additionally, many former service members face debilitating mental health issues, such as post-traumatic stress disorder, anxiety and depression. For years, the Veterans Administration has relied on powerful medications, including opioids, to treat these conditions and illnesses. However, lawmakers are coming together to consider another alternative: medical marijuana.

Medical marijuana is currently legal in some form in 36 states and the District of Columbia and four out of five of the United States territories. While state medical marijuana laws vary, generally, states allow patients with certain conditions to purchase and possess small amounts of marijuana after obtaining a qualifying diagnosis and going through a few other procedural hurdles. For example, Florida allows medical marijuana for patients with Crohn’s disease, cancer, epilepsy, glaucoma, HIV/AIDS, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease and PTSD.

Marijuana in all forms is still illegal at the federal level. As a result, the VA will not currently prescribe medical marijuana. Thus, veterans who would otherwise be eligible for medical marijuana under their state’s laws cannot obtain a prescription from the VA. This has the unfair effect of essentially limiting a servicemember’s treatment options based on their military service.

Lawmakers are beginning to take a look at the current federal prohibition in terms of service members. Last month, Senator Brian Schatz (D-HI) introduced the Veterans Medical Marijuana Safe Harbor Act in the United States Senate, and Representatives Barbara Lee (D-CA) and Dave Joyce (R-OH) introduced similar legislation in the House of Representatives.

Under these new laws, veterans in states that currently allow for medical marijuana (and their doctors) would enjoy a five-year safe harbor from any prosecution related to the use of medical marijuana. The laws would also require the VA to research the effectiveness of marijuana in treating chronic pain. The goal is to ensure equal access to all treatment options and reduce the overreliance on opioid medications.

Florida Veterans’ benefits attorney David W. Magann explains, “It doesn’t seem right that a Veteran can be prevented from accessing a legal medication based only on the fact that they served their country. Over the past decade, many states have passed legislation in favor of medical marijuana, and Veterans of those states should be able to reap the benefits of medical marijuana if they choose to do so.”

Attorney David Magann is a Florida Veterans’ benefits lawyer with extensive experience helping veterans, service members, and their family members obtain the benefits they are entitled to. Attorney Magann also helps veterans deal with the unique legal issues they face after leaving the service. As a proud Marine Corps veteran, attorney Magann has overcome many of those issues himself and takes pride in helping fellow veterans. Attorney Magann handles social security disability, estate planning, veterans’ law and personal injury law out of his Brandon and Tampa offices.

David W. Magann, P.A.
Main Office:
156 W. Robertson St.
Brandon, FL 33511
Call: (813) 657-9175

Tampa Office:
4012 Gunn Highway #165
Tampa, Florida 33618

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