Veterans may get medical marijuana soon

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It’s such an obviously sensible thing, you have to wonder why they’ve fought it all these years:

For years, veterans have called for medical marijuana treatments to help with their physical pain from recovering injuries and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and the Senate has finally responded.

The Senate recently passed legislation that would authorize Veterans Health Administration doctors to prescribe medical marijuana to their patients. Even though there are nearly two dozen states with medical marijuana laws that vary in degree, up until this point, the Veterans Health Administration had a strict policy of not allowing its physicians to discuss marijuana as a treatment option with patients.

This Senate legislation will not change the federal law banning the use of marijuana even for medical purposes. Marijuana will still maintain its classification as a Schedule I drug under the Controlled Substances Act. This means that, although a doctor will be allowed to prescribe it to veterans, the drug will still be viewed as having no medical value. In addition, this legislation on medical marijuana will need to outlast a negotiated spending deal between the U.S. Senate and the House of Representatives.

Medical marijuana laws vary between states. Currently in Pennsylvania, medical marijuana is not legal. However, the Pennsylvania House of Representative members announced its recommendations to prepare a bill that would help legalize medical marijuana. Their recommendations went as far as to include which medical conditions would qualify for a marijuana prescription.

According to Philadelphia criminal lawyer Amato Sanita, “marijuana is still considered a Schedule1 controlled substance in Pennsylvania, and cracking down on the possession, distributions, and use of this drug, especially in large quantities, is still a priority for law enforcement and prosecutors.”

The spokesman for the Pennsylvania House of Representatives hopes the bill will pass by the end of the year. Since the Senate previously approved its own medical-marijuana bill, the Senate is expected to support the House bill. However, it remains to be seen whether federal medical marijuana legislation will be enforced before the Pennsylvania marijuana legislation.