On Memorial Day, a grass-roots group of veterans expressed their disappointment in the Obama administration’s stance on access to medical cannabis. Veterans for Medical Cannabis Access petitioned the White House to allow veterans access to medical cannabis to treat Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, receiving over 8000 signatures on WhiteHouse.gov. The reply was disappointing.
President Obama’s Drug Czar Gil Kerlikowske introduced his long-delayed response by lamenting “substance abuse” issues that trouble many veterans, and then asserted that medical marijuana cannot treat any symptom. This from an administration that refuses to allow research on the health benefits of cannabis!
Veterans for Medical Cannabis Access were very disappointed in the administration’s response – both that access to medical cannabis will not be provided to veterans of America’s armed forces, and the tone of the Drug Czar’s long-delayed response. They said in a statement:
We Veterans petitioned the Obama Administration to: “Allow United States Disabled Military Veterans access to medical marijuana to treat their PTSD.”
The White House response to our petition was very disappointing. We asked for a change in policy. To have our petition answered by the drug czar,an ex policeman, is most inappropriate given the drug czar is bound by law to ONLY discuss current law and has no power to discuss policy change with the public. Even the lowest ranking staffer at the White House or anyone from the Veterans Health Authority would have been more appropriate.
Al Byrne, retired Naval Officer and co-founder of VMCA, was blunt in his assessment of the White House concern for injured Veterans:
“Vets have used cannabis for PTS since the Revolutionary War. We know what we need and to be told by our President, the Commander in Chief, that he does not care about those he has sent to war by denying medicine to the wounded is unconscionable.”
The Department of Veterans Affairs is also now in direct conflict with the White House.
According to the Veterans Affairs, Undersecretary of Health in correspondence with our Executive Director, Michael Krawitz: “The provider (VA) will take the use of medical marijuana into account in all prescribing decisions, just as the provider would for any other medication.
On Memorial Day, all Americans acknowledge the sacrifices our veterans have made for our freedom and security. President Obama missed an opportunity to value veterans’ sacrifices by allowing them safe access to all therapies recommended by their doctors.