H.R.5520, the VA Medicinal Cannabis Research Act, passes out of House Committee

Statement on H.R.5520, the VA Medicinal Cannabis Research Act

The Veterans Cannabis Coalition would like to thank House Veterans Affairs Committee Chair Phil Roe, Ranking Member Tim Walz, Congressman Lou Correa, and Committee staff for their efforts in crafting and supporting H.R.5520, the VA Medicinal Cannabis Research Act. We would like to thank the Committee for the favorable report on this bill and passing it the House for consideration.

While this bill is certainly modest in its immediate impact, we believe that it is a necessary first step toward building bipartisan support for broader cannabis reform legislation in Congress. Hundreds of thousands of veterans, like the millions of other Americans who have medicated with cannabis, have experienced profound and sustained relief or elimination of underlying conditions. Many of those conditions--prominently traumatic brain injuries (TBI), post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and chronic pain--are poorly managed with current medication models, with health providers offering few or no alternatives to powerful pharmaceuticals like opioids, stimulants, and tranquilizers to patients.

This way of doing business has contributed to the outsized veteran overdose and suicide rate that claims thousands in our community every year, and relegates tens of thousands more to a pharmaceutical fog that destroys their quality of life. The lived experience of millions of people, over the course of thousands of years of human history, combined with the 25,000 existing scientific studies and reviews all point to the medical value of cannabis. The only thing standing in the way of properly researching and regulating cannabis is political will.

We are working toward a future where veterans have equal access to cannabis, regardless of their zip code, and the Department of Veteran Affairs is a leader in funding, researching, and developing non-synthetic cannabis medications. To do this, we must remove the legal barriers to research and the reprehensible criminalization and stigmatization of those who use cannabis. The VA Medicinal Cannabis Research Act moves closer to that goal and finally puts the Department of Veteran Affairs on the right track toward fulfilling its obligation to care for those who have borne the battle. We look forward to seeing this bill taken up in the Senate, and will continue to advocate on Capitol Hill for its passage.

AdvocacyEric G