D.C. Laws Prevent Soldiers In Need From Getting Medical Marijuana
November 11, 2010 – In what many regarded as a shocking move, the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) recently relaxed their rules on veterans using medical marijuana. The VA will not allow their own doctors to prescribe medical marijuana for their patients but they will not punish veterans getting medical marijuana prescriptions outside the VA in the 14 states in which medical marijuana is legal. Previously, if veterans were caught taking illegal drugs, even prescribed medical marijuana, VA doctors were under orders to deny them certain pain medications. Veterans no longer have to worry about being denied medication.
The two most prevalent conditions among veterans seeking medical marijuana are chronic pain and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). There are 5 specific conditions under the D.C. law that can qualify for receiving medical marijuana, and PTSD and chronic pain are not among them. Current law states other “serious, chronic, and debilitating conditions” can be considered as is needed. The current 5 qualifying conditions are:
- Cancer; and
- Multiple Sclerosis (MS) along with other conditions resulting in “severe and persistent muscle spasms.”
The majority of the patients seeking medical marijuana then, will not qualify under current D.C. law. Walter Reed Medical Center has a zero tolerance policy towards medical marijuana, so even if the law were changed, soldiers given prescriptions for medical marijuana would not be able to get help at Walter Reed. This is regardless of D.C. law.