The first Senate marijuana bill of the new Congress focuses on increasing research on the medical benefits of cannabis for military veterans.
The legislation proposed to conduct clinical trials on the effectiveness of medical marijuana in the treatment of conditions common among military veterans, was introduced by Sens. Jon Tester (D-MT) and Dan Sullivan (R-AK) on Thursday, would direct the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs (VA).
While the VA, which has been dragging its feet in wanting to engage in marijuana studies, the new bill states the VA "SHALL" begin clinical studies (not "may" as in written in 2018's version).
“The VA needs to listen to the growing number of veterans who have already found success in medicinal cannabis in easing their pain and other symptoms. Our bill will make sure the VA takes proactive steps to explore medicinal cannabis as a safe and effective alternative to opioids for veterans suffering from injuries or illness received in the line of duty." - Senator Tester (D-MT) said in a press release.
This is a HUGE step in the right direction for our veterans. While the VA claims federal law "restricts VA’s ability to conduct research involving medical marijuana, or to refer veterans to such projects", the VA now may be required to study and show the benefits for our veterans