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VA Directive Allows Veterans to Use Medical Cannabis in Clinics Where it’s Legal Under State Law

[Editor's Note: This article has been updated to make it clear that this directive was issued in 2010; unfortunately most clinics have ignored it and disallowed medical cannabis use onsite, citing federal law.]

The U.S. Veterans Affairs Department issued a new directive in 2010 which effectively altered the group’s national va_sealpolicies in regards to medical cannabis. Under this directive, veterans are allowed to consume cannabis at clinics located in states which have legalized the substance for medical use; the policy was a major shift; prior to the change, veterans lost VA benefits if they were caught using cannabis, even if they were qualified patients under state law, and used the cannabis for entirely legitimate medical purposes.

“For years, there have been veterans coming back from the Iraq war who needed medical marijuana and had to decide whether they were willing to cut down on their VA medications,” states John Targowski, a legal adviser for the group Veterans for Medical Marijuana Access, who praised the change.

Under these rules, clinics aren’t be authorized to distribute medical cannabis, but veterans who are qualified patients are allowed to consume cannabis they’ve already obtained.

Despite this change veterans are still suffering with the dilemma of abiding federal (or in some cases state) law, or using a natural, nonlethal medicine which they find to be far more beneficial than deadly pharmaceutical treatments.

The answer? Legalize medical cannabis across the board, including putting a swift end to federal prohibition.

- TheJointBlog

20 comments

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  1. Tim Reed

    I think this is a awesome step forward in freedom of Cannabis…and helping our Veterans! Keep up the move forward!!!

  2. Aaron McGlamery

    I’m a Veteran and I live in VA am I eligible for medical Cannibis? Please let me knw.

    1. Anonymous

      u r in Michigan…The Grand Peninsula awaits

    2. Anonymous

      Only if it is LEGAL in your State.

  3. micheal

    lol. i am a 100% disabled veteran i began marijuana in 2001 after 10 years on the Meds i was given by the VA and told some pain a soldier has to live with heres more morphine, after doing my best to kill my myself and not happening i then learned about marijuana. weaning myself off and dealing with the VA i was able to get my medical recomendation. changing my life for the better, i been ten years off the pills and lifes been diffrent. it is not the best but i can at least live. Have a quality of life and be. when on the pills it was hell. marijuana has been mygreenheaven.org

    1. HipCowboy420

      Good for you Micheal it has helped me stay off other pain pills also I only use cannabis now.

      1. garrett

        I’m a 50% disabled vet since 911 and dealing with chronic back pain. I just started researching a little about the cannibas. Unfortunately I live in a state where it is not legal, but have gotten the pleasure to experience a life changing new way of life that actually helped with my pain so much I cried like baby when I heard the medical movement. All these years,all these pills… I’m very tired all the time. I feel if I don’t get to a state where its legal I’m going to die!!! I’m going to do what I can to help this movement. Any sites that would help??? Thanks GB in NC

    2. douglas szklarski

      me to the va try to murder me to with their pills that don’t work that why so many commit suicide no one can win on those pills no one the pills always win DEATH IS THE END . LIFE AND CANNABIS FOR ME.

  4. George

    Whats the sence if the v.a. isnt going to distribute medical marijuana to vets that need it. The $$$ they give the vets to Live on isnt enought to pay the monthly bills. Let alone go out and buy a bag of marijuana.

  5. ANTHONY

    Would help all types of illness and save the GOVERMENT BOOKO $$$$$$$$$$$$$ !!! TO EASY FOR POLITICANS to see !! AND SOMETHING DRUG COMPANIES DON’T WANT TO SEE!!!! CHEMICAL DRUGS ARE KILLING PEOPLE EVERYDAY!!! GO GREEN!!!

  6. Derek Cloar

    I have brought this up more than once to my VA Doctors and all I get is a run around. The Director who wrote this directive is no longer the Director. If anyone can find a COPY of the directive and email it to me I would appreciate it greatly.

    1. garrett

      I think they train all the va doctors the same. Mine made the comment to me yesterday that I’ll quote ” you know there’s a rumor going around that there going to stop giving out narcotics or pain killers” . Now why would he tell me that. They have no idea. Every visit to the va I make there’s always some sort of comment made referring to prescription drugs. I’m tired of taken pills IM TIRED,IM TIRED!!! I’m supporting this movement until I die. If you know any sites that will help I appreciate it. GB in NC

  7. douglas szklarski

    i am a 100% disable vets and cannabis gave me back my life . from the brink of deaf do to VA drugs thank god for cannabis i have my mind and spirit ,I am not disabled anymore pain have left the building my pain is fully under control .with no impairment . thank you jesus and god for making this plant for me.

  8. TJ Burglund

    My husband is qualified and uses it, he has since cut his intake of toxic prescription drugs in half and is doing very well.

  9. Random X Roads

    U.S.Vet 1968-71 and still waiting for my compassionate, palliative care from the VA. You have done your best to get me strung out on narcotics but I smoke “Hella weed” and have done my best to “man up” under the most uncomfortable conditions.

    I am embarrased to have served this country so that this government may continue to disrespect it’s citizens through it’s devisive policies concerning cannabis. A twenty year old who has never served has a ‘green card’ and is given permission to go into a state run dispensary to buy “legal, medicinal” cannabis, while a Veteran with his VA card and U.S. currency is not allowed to even purchase his medicine without paying off a state doctor after being denied by his federal primary care physician. What a joke.

    The joke is on the Veterans who have, in the past, and will still, in the future, laid their lives on the line for the safety and security of this great country that repays us by denying us our medical coverage that is offered to other members of the community.

    You people better make it right with the veterans before you start counting your profits. Analyze your own greed and find it in your hearts to become humane. And if you don’t get it, the Pacific ocean goes first and then the Atlantic. We are going to need to claim desert areas, reconstitute the soil, put in irrigation and began full scale propagation and maturation of high grade cannabis, a source from which we will still obtain fatty omega 3′s, 6′s, and 9”s when we are no longer able to obtain nutrition from the ocean.

    Get with the program folks.

    Mr. President—-Party On Party

    Party On

  10. garrett

    93 to 9-11 hurt my back in Germany and they been tryin to kill me ever since with pills,pills,pills….thank you lord for putting cannabis on your earth. I can’t wait till its legal for me.. I know for a fact that it would extend my life by years….. Its so aggravating that it is so clear that its 100% better than the pharma company shit that have over a hundred side affects!!! Its time that we vets and American citizens stand together and fight back against this federally controlled country that only care about the dollar,, and that’s slowly becoming nothing…please help me/us vets that just want to try and hang on to a somewhat way of life that helps us with the pain please.. Before we lose any more of our warriors that feel like the end is near.,If we would stand together/ numbers is what it comes down to!! Not money, but me just me i will donate what ever I can to help. If there is others out there that are ready to change there life for the better and get off those deadly pills that apparently are killing kids everyday, Lets do this…. Anyways I’m doing some more research and making sure I’m supportin the correct organizations that are going to help speed this up for me and my fellow vets. Thanks for reading…GB in NC

  11. Anonymous

    Let me start by saying that I have recently been medically retired from the Air Force at 50% for my Ruematoid Arthritis. I have been on many different medications “both pills and shots” in which none have fully been able to help with the problems associated with the RA. I guess my question would have to be that since I receive full medical and compensation for my family and I would I be able to get a medical marijuana card and not lose my benifits with the VA? I do live in a state that allows the use of medical marijuana also.

  12. Lew

    Beware of veterans! I am 100% rated with a head injury that required a plate to be installed in my forehead. I have two bulging disc and one ruptured disk in my lower back. I had been using cannabis since my discharge in 1976 for symptoms with my head injury. The doctors at the VA medical clinic in Chatsworth, California, Los Angeles County have taken away my narcotic prescription rights because I have a medical prescription for my cannabis. I can no longer get Vicodin or anything that helps with my back pain. If you belong to the VA system, they will take away your narcotic prescription rights at the VA pharmacy if they find out you have the card for medical marijuana. Six years of service with one tour in Vietnam, and a doctor if the VA medical center can take away something as important as my pain medications! If anybody knows a way to battle this, please post it, so no other veterans are going through what I am.

  13. Lew

    Beware of veterans! I am 100% rated with a head injury that required a plate to be installed in my forehead. I have two bulging disc and one ruptured disk in my lower back. I had been using cannabis since my discharge in 1976 for symptoms with my head injury. The doctors at the VA medical clinic in Chatsworth, California, Los Angeles County have taken away my narcotic prescription rights because I have a medical prescription for my cannabis. I can no longer get Vicodin or anything that helps with my back pain. If you belong to the VA system, they will take away your narcotic prescription rights at the VA pharmacy if they find out you have the card for medical marijuana. Six years of service with one tour in Vietnam, and a doctor if the VA medical center can take away something as important as my pain medications! If anybody knows a way to battle this, please post it, so no other veterans are going through what I am.

  14. Diana Vance

    I had taken a trip to Florida to help my sister. Dying of cancer. I take pain meds since pennsylvania does not yet support canabus. But get this. There was an error in my shipment. My va in Pennsylvania said go to the local va and get a 3 day supply until mine arrived.
    I was told infatically by a very intimidating woman that “they don’t do that here”. I asked what they don’t do and I was told treat patients for pain at any time for any reason. And was dismissed being told no, I could not see a doctor.
    Went home in tears and agony, called my va who said they cannot deny my seeing a doctor. I went back. Got to see the who kept looking at me that I had just crawled out of a card board (no offense) and said they can’t believe more are not taking their lead. After all, all you people are just addicts and if not that, your selling them. Then gave me pills to help withdrawal. My doctor couldn’t believe it.
    I won’t even begin to say how my stage 4 cancer sister was treated and yelled at. We had to bring her to civilian facilities, where because of the inappropriate treatment from the va died a few weeks later.
    I DONT KNOw who to report these people to. The fight isn’t even canabus, it’s getting treated at all. I love my country. I’m ashamed of the low caliber doctors they have treating us.

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