Democratic Senators Push Bill to Grant Veterans Access to Medical Cannabis

Two Democratic lawmakers have introduced a bill in the U.S. Senate that would allow doctors with the Department of Veterans Affairs to prescribe medical marijuana for their patients. Sen. Bill Nelson of Florida and Sen. Bill Schatz from Hawaii introduced the measure, the Veterans Medical Marijuana Safe Harbor Act, on Wednesday. A similar measure, known as the Veterans Equal Access Act (HR 1820), is pending in the House of Representatives.

Nelson said in a press release that the bill will allow veterans access to the same treatment alternatives available to others through a temporary five-year safe harbor program.

“Federal law prohibits VA doctors from prescribing or recommending medical marijuana to veterans,” Nelson said. “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.”

If passed, the act will allow veterans to “use, possess, or transport medical marijuana in accordance with the laws of the State in which the use, possession, or transport occurs,” according to the text of the bill.

The bill’s findings note that medical marijuana may be an effective way to address the nationwide epidemic of opioid overdoses by providing veterans a new way to

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