Lawmakers Want to Expand VA Medical Cannabis Research, Can’t Agree on How to Do it

Lawmakers in the House of Representatives introduced two bills last week that would call on the Department of Veterans Affairs to expand research into the medicinal use of cannabis. One of the measures would closely dictate the direction research at the VA should take, while the other would allow the agency more discretion.

House Bill 712 was introduced on January 23 by Democratic Rep. Lou Correa of California and Rep. Clay Higgins, a Louisiana Republican. Under their bill, the VA would, among other things, be directed to conduct a clinical trial of the effects of cannabis on adults with chronic pain and post-traumatic stress disorder. Correa said in a statement that the VA needs to develop new approaches to treating those who have answered the nation’s call to military service.

“With the opioid crisis raging across America, it is imperative to the health and safety of our veterans that we find alternative treatments for chronic pain and service-related injuries,” Correa said. “It’s time the VA did a formal study.”

Competing Measure Gives VA More Latitude

A second measure, House Bill 747, was introduced the following day by Rep. Phil Roe, a Republican from Tennessee. His bill would also call on the VA

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