Veterans Groups React to VA’s Shift in Medical Marijuana Policy

Advocates seeking increased medical marijuana access for vets aren't convinced the Department of Veterans Affairs' new directive moves the needle for patients.

By Bruce Kennedy, The Cannabist Staff

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs earlier this month issued a new directive for clinical programs that frees its doctors and pharmacists to discuss marijuana with military vets taking part in state-approved medical marijuana programs.

The directive, dated Dec. 8 and first reported by Forbes, changes policy to support “the Veteran – (health) provider relationship when discussing the use of marijuana and its impact on health, including Veteran-specific treatment plans.”

Doctors and pharmacists may discuss marijuana use with vets requesting information, according to the directive. Those clinical staff need to make decisions on a case-by-case basis when it comes to modifying any treatment plans based on the patient’s marijuana use, it says. As such decisions should be made “in partnership with the Veteran and must be based on concerns regarding Veteran health and safety.”

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US veterans Department of Veterans Affairs medical marijuana medicinal cannabis