Officials at the U.S. Division of Veterans Affairs (VA) have come out against a series of bills that are developed to defend VA added benefits for veterans who use marijuana, permit the department’s physicians to advocate healthcare cannabis and expand analysis into the plant’s therapeutic possible.
Lawmakers and advocates representing veterans discussed the proposals during a congressional hearing on Tuesday. And when the Trump administration representatives present stated the division opposes the bills, help was widespread amongst witnesses and subcommittee members, at least for some of the legislation.
“This is the initially time we’ve had a hearing like this with a substantive committee,” Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) stated. “One of the excellent tragedies of our time is the failure to adequately address the requirements of veterans returning household from Iraq and Afghanistan… An overwhelming quantity of veterans inform me that cannabis has decreased PTSD symptoms [and] the dependency on addictive opioids.”
Rep. Julia Brownley (D-CA), chair of the Home Veterans’ Affairs Subcommittee on Overall health, thanked Blumenauer for introducing his Veterans Equal Access Act, which would allow VA physicians to situation healthcare cannabis suggestions for veterans. She stated “it’s an critical bill” and that she’s also heard from veterans who want the proposed policy adjust.
The congresswoman also thanked Rep. Lou Correa (D-CA) for filing his VA Medicinal Cannabis Research Act, which would call for the VA to conduct a clinical study on the added benefits and threat of healthcare marijuana in the therapy of situations such chronic discomfort and post-traumatic anxiety disorder.
“It’s time to make confident that veterans get to know what cannabis is excellent for and what cannabis is not excellent for. We require healthcare analysis,” Correa stated. “We owe our veterans a tremendous quantity. The least we can do is make confident we’re providing them the suitable therapy for these invisible wounds that they brought back from the battlefield.”
“I agree we require to push the VA forward on this,” Brownley stated.
The panel also talked about a bill from Rep. Greg Steube (R-FL) that would codify an current VA policy prohibiting the division from stripping veterans of their benefits just since they use cannabis in compliance with state law.
Immediately after the lawmakers spoke to make the case for their respective legislation, veterans advocates and 3 VA officials supplied their feedback and took concerns from the committee.
Keita Franklin, national director of suicide prevention in the VA’s Workplace of Mental Overall health and Suicide Prevention, stated that the division opposes all of the cannabis bills. She stated the proposal to call for the VA to conduct clinical analysis on healthcare cannabis is as well ambitious and risky, stating that “a smaller sized, early-phase trial design and style would be utilized to advance our understanding of added benefits and threat with regards to cannabis prior to moving to a variety of much more expansive method as described in this proposed legislation.”
“Any trial with human subjects will have to contain an evaluation of the dangers and security and contain the smallest quantity of participants to prevent placing subjects at enhanced threat unnecessarily so,” she stated. “For these motives, we do not help this proposed legislation.”
Published: April 30, 2019
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