This is the first ever veterans-focused medical bill to be introduced into the upper chamber of the Senate.
Senators Bill Nelson (D-FL) and Brian Schatz (D-HI) introduced The Veterans Medical Marijuana Safe Harbor Act, which seeks to expand and facilitate medical cannabis access to military veterans suffering from chronic pain, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), and other serious medical conditions.
If The Veterans Medical Marijuana Safe Harbor Act passes, it would effectively legalize medical marijuana for military veterans while allowing Veteran Administration (VA) doctors help them gain access to it in the the 31 where it is legal.
Currently, regulations forbid government VA doctors from filling out the paperwork necessary to recommend medical cannabis.
“This legislation will allow veterans in Florida and elsewhere the same access to legitimately prescribed medication, just as any other patient in those 31 states would have,” said Florida Senator Bill Nelson, who is facing a tough reelection fight this year.
This is the first time Nelson has ever co-sponsored marijuana legislation, Forbes pointed out.
If the bill passes, it would end this discrimination against veterans and prevent sanctions being leveled against VA doctors.
“The Veterans Medical Marijuana Safe Harbor Act would provide crucial medical and civil protections for the men and women who put their lives on the line to serve this country,” said Justin Strekal, Political Director of NORML in a statement.
“It is unconscionable that these brave individuals who protect our nation's freedoms would be treated as criminals when they return home just for treating their medical ailments with a safe and effective option. We applaud and appreciate the leadership by Senators Schatz and Nelson in putting forward this legislation,” said Strekal.
A recent American Legion poll found that nearly one in four veterans use marijuana to alleviate a medical condition.
Similar legislation, The Veterans Equal Access Act (HR 1820) is pending in the House.