Tag: medical marijuana

Colorado’s Marijuana Revenue Exceeded Projections in 2015

Colorado’s Marijuana Revenue Exceeded Projections in 2015

Colorado’s Regulated Marijuana System Generated More Than $135 Million in Revenue for the State in 2015, Including More Than $35 Million for School Construction Projects

DENVER, CO — Colorado’s regulated marijuana system generated more than $135 million in revenue for the state in 2015, including more than $35 million for school construction projects, according to the Colorado Department of Revenue.

There were just under $588 million in adult-use marijuana sales in Colorado from January-December 2015, producing approximately $109.1 million in tax revenue in addition to $4.7 million in license and application fees. The state’s regulated medical marijuana system produced more than $11.4 million in tax revenue and $9.8 million in license and application fees.

In 2014, the state’s regulated marijuana system raised just over $76.1 million in total revenue, including about $56.2 million from adult-use marijuana tax revenue and fees and $19.9 million in medical marijuana tax revenue and fees.

“There are hundreds of millions of dollars in marijuana sales taking place in every state,” said Mason Tvert, the Denver-based director of communications for the Marijuana Policy Project. “Colorado is one of the few where those sales are being conducted by licensed, taxpaying businesses.”

Adult-use marijuana sales in Colorado are subject to the state’s standard 2.9% sales tax, plus a 10% special state sales tax. Additionally, wholesale transfers of adult-use marijuana are subject to a 15% state excise tax. The first $40 million raised annually by the 15% excise tax is earmarked for public school construction projects. The excise tax raised just over $35 million in 2015, up from about $13.3 million in 2014.

“These tax revenue figures are truly impressive,” Tvert said. “Just six years ago, Colorado received zero dollars in tax revenue from the sale of marijuana in the state. Now it’s raising more than $100 million annually with tens of millions of dollars directed toward public school improvements.

“The additional tax revenue far exceeds the cost of regulating the system,” Tvert said. “Regulating and taxing marijuana has been incredibly successful in Colorado, and it represents a model for other states to follow. These numbers should put to rest the claims we keep hearing from opponents that marijuana tax revenue has fallen short of expectations in Colorado.”


Thank you for visiting MDMMCC.com, the premier Medical Marijuana Certification Center in Maryland. Our Mission at the Maryland Medical Marijuana Certification Clinics (MDMMCC) is to provide the certification necessary for qualified patients to obtain Medical Marijuana in compliance with the Maryland Medical Marijuana Laws in the State of Maryland.  MDMMCC will have offices open throughout Maryland.

Utah Senate Committee Passes Medical Marijuana Expansion Bill

Utah Senate Committee Passes Medical Marijuana Expansion Bill

SALT LAKE CITY, UT — A bill to expand Utah’s 2014 medical marijuana law received a favorable recommendation in a key Senate committee this week, setting up a possible floor vote by the full Senate.

The Senate Judiciary, Law Enforcement, and Criminal Justice Committee voted 4-1 Thursday to approve Senate Bill 73, the Medical Cannabis Act, sponsored by Sen. Mark Madsen (R-Saratoga Springs).

Madsen’s proposal seeks to amend state law to allow the state-licensed cultivation of cannabis, including strains with higher THC content, for the manufacturing of medicinal products and/or herbal preparations.  The bill would also authorize medical marijuana dispensaries, giving Utah a more workable medical cannabis program.

Under a 2014 law,  also sponsored by Madsen, qualifying patients are permitted to possess cannabis extracts that contain more than 15 percent CBD and no more than 0.3 percent THC. However, the law provides no legal supply source for these products and, as a result, it has largely failed to meet the needs of patients.

A December 2015 poll found that six out of ten adults in Utah support allowing doctors to recommend medical marijuana, with the highest levels of support coming from adults aged 45 and older.

More information on Senate Bill 73 can be found here.

© 2016 The Daily Chronic. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without expressed, written permission.


Thank you for visiting MDMMCC.com, the premier Medical Marijuana Certification Center in Maryland. Our Mission at the Maryland Medical Marijuana Certification Clinics (MDMMCC) is to provide the certification necessary for qualified patients to obtain Medical Marijuana in compliance with the Maryland Medical Marijuana Laws in the State of Maryland.  MDMMCC will have offices open throughout Maryland.

Will the VA Let Doctors Recommend Medical Marijuana to Veterans?

Will the VA Let Doctors Recommend Medical Marijuana to Veterans?

Last week, a group of 21 US senators and representatives sent a letter to the Department of Veterans Affairs calling on it to allow VA doctors to discuss and recommend marijuana as medicine in states where it is legal.

The bipartisan effort was led by Sens. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Steve Daines (R-MT), and Jeff Merkley (D-OR) and Reps. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR), Dina Titus (D-NY), and Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA). All represent medical marijuana states.

Under current VA policy, embodied in VHA Directive 2011-004, which expires Sunday, VA doctors are prohibited recommending marijuana as a treatment option even in legal states. This discourages patients and doctors from being honest with each other.

“According to the current directive, VA providers are prohibited from completing forms seeking recommendations or opinions regarding a veteran’s participation in a state-sanctioned marijuana program. This policy disincentivizes doctors and patients from being honest with each other,” the solons wrote. “Congress has taken initial steps to alleviate this conflict in law and we will continue to work toward this goal. However, you are in a position to make this change when the current VHA directive expires at the end of this month. We ask that you act to ensure that our veterans’ access to care is not compromised and that doctors and patients are allowed to have honest discussions about treatment options.”

If patients can’t get a recommendation from their VA docs and thus can’t access dispensaries, they would be tempted to go elsewhere for recommendations, to doctors “likely far less familiar with their symptoms and medical history,” the solons wrote.

Noting that there has been a “sea change” in the legal framework around marijuana since the directive was issued in 2011, they asked that “upon the directive’s expiration, any new directive remove barriers that would interfere with the doctor-patient relationship in states that have chosen to legalize marijuana for medical purposes.”

But without a new directive, even though the old one is expiring, it will be the status quo at the VA, said Michael Krawitz, a US Air Force veteran and executive director of Veterans for Medical Cannabis Access. Krawitz participated in the process that led to the production and distribution of the directive.

“VA Directives remain in effect with full force even after expiration unless they are officially replaced or rescinded,” he said. “Although I can understand that patients might not know that and might get uneasy about the expiring directive, but in practicality there should be no change in clinical practices caused by the expiration.”

While VA patients could be spooked by the expiration, the status quo is unacceptable, said Dr. Sue Sisley, MD, in clinical psychiatry and internal medicine, who has two decades of experience treating veterans and who is set to do a pilot study on medical marijuana and PTSD for veterans.

“I’ve worked with veterans all over the country who are dealing with severe and chronic, debilitating medical problems,” she said. “They just want the treatment that is going to help them the most, with the least side effects. I have seen firsthand the dramatic improvement so many veterans have had while taking cannabis. Not only have they experienced relief from problems such as PTSD, chronic pain, and migraines, but many of them have also been able to break their addiction to more dangerous drugs, such as opioids and benzodiazepines.”

VA staff physician Deborah Gilman, MD, said current VA policy forces physicians to ignore the science if it conflicts with policy.

“Unlike private practice physicians, VA physicians are under a gag order regarding discussing marijuana with patients,” she said. “In other settings, doctors can be honest about their medical opinions regarding treatment options, based on science. In the VA, an administrator can write policy that you can’t disagree with without losing your job. Veterans are fearful of losing either their medical benefits or their access to health care if they acknowledge using marijuana. This causes a VA doctor to give you a medical opinion based on the VA regulation, not on the science. I knew many VA doctors whose professional opinion was that cannabis might help some of their patients, but they could never say so in their office or in public.”

“There is nothing more sacred in healthcare than the doctor-patient relationship,” said Sisley. “Right now we are seeing interference with that coveted relationship. No government policy should come between a doctor and their patients. The only people who should be making medical decisions for veterans are their physicians, not a bureaucrat and not a law enforcement official. These men and women have sacrificed so much for their country. It’s only fair that they get the care that they deserve, and have access to the whole range of treatment options.”

For Krawitz, it’s about getting health care he and countless other vets deserve.

“I suffer from a combination of internal injuries and broken bones leading me to be a perfect candidate for cannabis as an adjunct pain treatment,” he explained. “I need to be able to go in and see my VA doctor and have a honest conversation where my doctor feels free to gain knowledge now available through continuing medical education and relay that information to me in writing even if that is the very documentation is what I need to participate in a state medical marijuana program.”

Now it’s up to Veterans Affairs Secretary Robert McDonald. He’s heard from Congress, he’s heard from patients, he’s heard from doctors and scientists. We’ll see if he’s listening.


This article is licensed under a modified Creative Commons Attribution license from StopTheDrugWar.org and was first published here.


Thank you for visiting MDMMCC.com, the premier Medical Marijuana Certification Center in Maryland. Our Mission at the Maryland Medical Marijuana Certification Clinics (MDMMCC) is to provide the certification necessary for qualified patients to obtain Medical Marijuana in compliance with the Maryland Medical Marijuana Laws in the State of Maryland.  MDMMCC will have offices open throughout Maryland.

Puerto Rico Adopts Rules for Medical Marijuana Program

Puerto Rico Adopts Rules for Medical Marijuana Program

SAN JUAN, PR — Health Department officials have signed off on regulations overseeing the licensed production and distribution of medical cannabis within the US territory of Puerto Rico.

The new program is anticipated to be operational by year’s end.

Puerto Rico Gov. Alejandro J. Garcia Padilla signed an executive order in May calling on health officials to adopt regulations permitting medical cannabis production and access. Under the new plan, patients who possess a physician’s authorization will be able to obtain cannabis-infused products, such as oils and pills, from state-licensed facilities.

Patients will not be permitted to cultivate their own marijuana and herbal formulations of medical cannabis will not be permitted.

Under Puerto Rico law, cannabis possession is classified as a felony, punishable by two to five years in prison and a $5,000 fine.


Thank you for visiting MDMMCC.com, the premier Medical Marijuana Certification Center in Maryland. Our Mission at the Maryland Medical Marijuana Certification Clinics (MDMMCC) is to provide the certification necessary for qualified patients to obtain Medical Marijuana in compliance with the Maryland Medical Marijuana Laws in the State of Maryland.  MDMMCC will have offices open throughout Maryland.

Navy Veteran Has Children Taken Away Due to Medical Marijuana Use

Navy Veteran Has Children Taken Away Due to Medical Marijuana Use

“People who don’t understand the medical value of cannabis are tearing my family apart,” says Raymond Schwab

Veteran’s Children Held Hostage By the State

Schwab is a US Navy veteran from Kansas who just had 5 of his 6 children taken away from CPS (Child Protective Services) because of his medical marijuana recommendation in Colorado; where cannabis is legal.

Less than a year ago, Raymond Schwab and his wife were in the middle of moving to Colorado to grow medical marijuana for fellow veterans. While they were in Colorado preparing for the big move, the state of Kansas took 5 of their children into custody due to a suspicion of child endangerment (the sixth child was 19 years old).

“There’s still as stigma against parents who use medical marijuana,” said family law attorney Jennifer Ani to reporters. Jennifer sees about 5 cases per month similar to the Schwab’s, in 95% of cases she says the child isn’t in any reasonable danger. “As much as marijuana is a moving target throughout the nation, with Child Protective Services it’s even more so.”

Schwab is a US Navy veteran who served in the Gulf war. He uses a homemade cannabis butter to help treat his PTSD as well as chronic pain. Once Schwab got back to the States after serving his country, he suffered from mental health issues which drove him to become an alcoholic. He was prescribed a myriad of sedatives, pain medications and antidepressants to help him, often times they just made him feel worse. “I got addicted to the pain medication, which led to heroin addiction.” said Schwab.

Medical Marijuana, A Safer Option

Unfortunately this isn’t an un-common story. Over half of current heroin users got their start on prescription painkillers. These opioid painkillers are widely prescribed for chronic pain, because they are akin to heroin they have a seriously high risk of abuse. They are also responsible for thousands of deaths each year in the United States.

Raymond Schwab had a brief stint in rehab to help him overcome his heroin addiction, prescription abuse and alcoholism. He has been sober since 2011 thanks to cannabis helping him with his chronic pain, anxiety, depression and PTSD symptoms.

In 2015 Schwab arranged for a transfer through the Department of Veterans Affairs to get transferred from Kansas to Colorado. His plan was to legally grow his own cannabis and to work with veterans like himself who use medical marijuana to treat pain, PTSD and other conditions.

Betrayed By Family and Country

As Schwab and his wife were on their way to Colorado to get everything set up for them and their 6 children, they received a call. They were told their children were in state custody and they needed to appear for an emergency hearing. The children were in the care of a relative while Schwab went to Colorado. That relative took the children to the police station and told them their parents abandoned them to work on a ‘pot farm’ in Colorado. This all happened in April of 2015.

Since then, Schwab has only seen his children 3 times.

Dr. Sue Sisley is a psychiatrist who recently got a $2 million grant to study the effects of cannabis on PTSD. Dr. Sisley says “A lot of these vets, they can’t function without their meds. And they have to live in fear of a positive drug test, and losing their kids to Child Protective Services. So they live this crazy, covert lifestyle where they’re afraid to be open to the people around them, for fear of that they’ll call CPS.”

Schwab told reporters that as soon as he regains custody of his children he plants to sue the state of Kansas for violating his constitutional rights. “They’re holding my kids hostage and threatening to terminate my rights if I don’t seek cannabis-abuse therapy in a state that’s legal. They’re threatening other people with jail time or losing their kids if they speak out, but I will not submit. I’ll take this to the supreme court if I have to.” said Schwab.

Deliberately Ignoring the Facts, Spreading Fear and Misinformation

In the Parental Drug Use As Child Abuse guide it says “exposing children to the manufacture, possession, or distribution of illegal drugs is considered child endangerment in 11 states.”

It doesn’t seem to matter if a patient has a prescription to use medical marijuana, these 11 states reserve the right to take their children away if the parent uses cannabis. The fear is that the children will be exposed to cannabis and get a ‘contact high’ or even put the raw cannabis in their mouth. Well… this ‘contact high’ has been proven to be a myth, and in order for anyone to feel anything after putting cannabis in their mouth, it would have to be cooked / prepared. There simply isn’t any danger of a child touching / eating a raw cannabis plant, except for sticky fingers and a bad taste in their mouth.

It’s extremely sad and infuriating when stories like this pop up in the news, and we are only exposed to a very small sample size. It is that much more infuriating when someone who served our country is the target. Schwab gave years of his life, risking it in the Gulf war to help protect our freedom and rights. He, along with countless other army vets have been exposed to horrifying scenes that the average person couldn’t even fathom. And we thank him for his service by treating his PTSD with dangerous prescription drugs that drove him to use heroin. When Schwab decided to seek a treatment alternative that would allow him to live his life again, without the plethora of dangerous side effects, we took his children away and held them hostage.

Let’s Start Treating Criminals Like Criminals Regardless of Wealth

This is a brilliant example of how broken our system is. Massive multi-billion dollar industries (tobacco, alcohol and pharmaceuticals) have a vested interest in keeping marijuana illegal. Legalizing marijuana would severely damage their bottom line, and after all, they are in the business of making money, not making lives better.

Allowing these industry titans the ability to buy political favor and sway politicians to vote against legalization is not only irresponsible, it is criminal. How many more lives need to be ruined? How many more families need to be torn apart? How long before we recognize this massive injustice and say enough is enough!?


sources: thedenverpost, theguardian.comthechillbud.com & rt.com

© 2016 The Daily Chronic. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without expressed, written permission.


Thank you for visiting MDMMCC.com, the premier Medical Marijuana Certification Center in Maryland. Our Mission at the Maryland Medical Marijuana Certification Clinics (MDMMCC) is to provide the certification necessary for qualified patients to obtain Medical Marijuana in compliance with the Maryland Medical Marijuana Laws in the State of Maryland.  MDMMCC will have offices open throughout Maryland.

Illinois Governor Rejects Adding Conditions to Medical Cannabis Program

Illinois Governor Rejects Adding Conditions to Medical Cannabis Program

Despite a recommendation from the Medical Cannabis Advisory Board, Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner decided not to add eight medical conditions to the state’s medical cannabis pilot program.

This is the second time his health department has turned down expanding the list of qualifying conditions.

The petition included four pain syndromes and post-traumatic stress disorder.

The first time Gov. Rauner’s health department rejected new conditions, the governor noted that the program was not yet fully up and running. However, now that dispensaries have opened in Illinois, that reasoning no longer applies.

The Medical Cannabis Advisory Board reviewed relevant studies and heard testimony from patients who could find relief if their conditions were added to the program.

Adding qualifying conditions would significantly improve the state program. The medical cannabis program recognizes only a narrow range of conditions, and Illinois is one of very few medical marijuana states that excludes patients with serious pain.


Thank you for visiting MDMMCC.com, the premier Medical Marijuana Certification Center in Maryland. Our Mission at the Maryland Medical Marijuana Certification Clinics (MDMMCC) is to provide the certification necessary for qualified patients to obtain Medical Marijuana in compliance with the Maryland Medical Marijuana Laws in the State of Maryland.  MDMMCC will have offices open throughout Maryland.

Study: Medical Marijuana Patients Often Over Age 40

Study: Medical Marijuana Patients Often Over Age 40

BALTIMORE, MD — Patients who are registered to use medicinal cannabis in compliance with state law are often over the age of 40, according to a demographic assessment published online ahead of print in the journal Drug and Alcohol Dependence.

An investigator with the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health assessed age demographics for medical marijuana participants in eight states with mandatory patient registries.

“Among adults, medical marijuana participants tend to be in their 40s and 50s,” the study found. “In several states, individuals in their 50s represented the largest age group of participants.”

For example, more than 50 percent of cannabis patients in Alaska are 50 years or older. In Nevada, 58 percent of patients are over 45. In Vermont, just under half of all registrants are over 55 years of age. In Oregon, 44 percent of patients are over the age of 50.

By contrast, less than one percent of medical marijuana registrants are minors, the report found.

The findings conflict with the claims of critics who have argued that most medical cannabis patients are individuals in their late 20s or early 30s.

Nationwide, an estimated 650,000 Americans are now using cannabis in compliance with the laws of their state, the study concludes.


Thank you for visiting MDMMCC.com, the premier Medical Marijuana Certification Center in Maryland. Our Mission at the Maryland Medical Marijuana Certification Clinics (MDMMCC) is to provide the certification necessary for qualified patients to obtain Medical Marijuana in compliance with the Maryland Medical Marijuana Laws in the State of Maryland.  MDMMCC will have offices open throughout Maryland.

7 Ways New York’s Medical Marijuana Program Falls Short

7 Ways New York’s Medical Marijuana Program Falls Short

What looks to be the country’s tightest medical marijuana program has an extremely limited number of producers and retailers, a tiny number of eligible patients, a dearth of doctors, and forbids both smoking marijuana and using edibles.

New York’s long-delayed medical marijuana program finally rolled out this month, not with a bang, but with a whimper. What looks to be the country’s tightest medical marijuana program has an extremely limited number of producers and retailers, a tiny number of eligible patients, a dearth of doctors, and forbids both smoking marijuana and using edibles.

For patients and advocates, the very limited arrival of medical marijuana in the Empire State is not the end point they hoped to achieve. Now, instead of resting on their laurels, they will have to continue to fight to make the program one that actually serves the needs of New Yorkers.

“It’s a start,” said the Drug Policy Alliance’s Julie Netherland, until recently the deputy director of the group’s New York Policy Office, where she was deeply involved in massaging the law through the legislature and past a reluctant governor. “It’s the first time New Yorkers can legally purchase medical marijuana, and it’s the result of the hard work of thousands of patients and family members across New York.”

But, she was quick to grant, the program has some serious issues, immediate ones in the way the program has been rolled out and longer-term ones with the statute itself.

Here are seven ways New York’s medical marijuana program falls short:

Not Enough Access to Doctors

Under the law, before doctors can recommend medical marijuana to patients, they must complete a $249 four-hour course on the drug and then register with the Health Department. As of Thursday, only 306 physicians had done so. Unlike neighboring New Jersey, the Health Department maintains no public registry of doctors certified to recommend medical marijuana, making it that much more difficult for potential patients to find doctors who might certify them to purchase it. So far, only 465 patients have been certified by the department to buy medical marijuana.

“This is the number one complaint of patients,” said Netherland, sketching out an almost Kafkaesque process. “The Health Department is telling me if I’m a patient, I should go see my doctor and see if he participates in the program and if not, to encourage him to register,” she said. “If the doctors says he’s not going to register, then I’m supposed to ask him for a referral, but the doctor isn’t going to know about any list of certified doctors to refer me to, and then it’s incumbent on me to tell him. It’s just another set of hoops for patients to jump through.”

At least the Health Department has now agreed to make the list of certified physicians available to patients.

Not Enough Dispensaries

In a state of 20 million, only eight dispensaries opened January 7, and only another dozen are envisioned under the June 2014 medical marijuana law. Weedmaps lists only three for New York City — one each in Manhattan, the Bronx, and Queens. By way of comparison, Los Angeles had 135 permitted dispensaries and probably three times as many actually operating.

New York is not only heavily populated, it’s big. With only 20 dispensaries, large geographical swathes of the state will remain without access. Long Island, for instance, will have two dispensaries, but right now, it’s a two-hour drive into the city.

“I’m disappointed that only eight dispensaries will open by the deadline,” said Missy Miller from Atlantic Beach. “There are none opening on Long Island, which leaves my son Oliver, who suffers from life-threatening seizures, out of luck. This only highlights concerns we have had all along that the state has licensed way too few producers and dispensaries to serve a state as populous and geographically large as New York.”

No Personal Cultivation

Unlike the majority of medical marijuana states, patients can’t just grow their own. That means they are dependent on the dispensary system, with all its limitations.

Access Is Limited to Specified Qualifying Medical Conditions

The state law only allows medical marijuana for a list of specified medical conditions, including cancer, HIV/AIDS, Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis, and chronic pain. The law allows the Commissioner of Health to add other diseases and conditions, but just last week, he refused to add PTSD, Alzheimer’s, muscular dystrophy, dystonia, rheumatoid arthritis.

“We’re hearing every day from patients with all kinds of conditions,” said Netherland. “The commissioner was directed by law to consider those five additional conditions, but he declined to add any. That was a huge blow to patients across the state hoping he would do the right thing. Half the medical marijuana states include PTSD; we thought there was strong scientific evidence to include it.”

Limitations on Forms of Ingestion

The law bans the sale of smokable marijuana. New York joins Minnesota as the only two medical marijuana states that ban smoking; 21 others do not. The state will only allow oils and capsules that can be administered orally, and liquid forms of marijuana may also be vaporized.

“The law prohibits any smoking, but regulations prohibit any access to the whole plant,” said Netherland. “That means all the products will be extracts, oils, or tinctures. This is also an issue for a lot of our patients.

Limitations on Strains

The law only provides for five producers, and each producer can only grow five strains.

“We know there are dozens and dozens of therapeutic strains,” said Netherland. “We’d like to have the flexibility to match symptoms with strains. One of the issues is that all of the products have to be approved by the Health Department.”

Access for Limited Income Patients

Advocates sought unsuccessfully to get provisions to ensure access for low income patients. Medical marijuana is not covered by insurance, and could run between $200 and $1300 a month, depending on the product and the condition. Now it will be up to the charitable instincts of dispensaries.

“We had encouraged the state to create incentive programs for producers to have programs for low income access, and we also encouraged the state to set up a program itself. It chose to do neither,” Netherland said. “Now, patients are basically waiting to see if dispensaries will step up.”

“There’s lots of room for improvement,” she said. “We anticipated a lot of these problems when the law was passed, and we’re looking at going back to the legislature. We’ll be back in Albany in the coming months talking about the need to expand the program and make it work from the patient’s standpoint.”

It looks like there’s plenty of work to be done.


This article is licensed under a modified Creative Commons Attribution license from StopTheDrugWar.org and was first published here.


Thank you for visiting MDMMCC.com, the premier Medical Marijuana Certification Center in Maryland. Our Mission at the Maryland Medical Marijuana Certification Clinics (MDMMCC) is to provide the certification necessary for qualified patients to obtain Medical Marijuana in compliance with the Maryland Medical Marijuana Laws in the State of Maryland.  MDMMCC will have offices open throughout Maryland.

Members of Congress Urge VA to Stop Banning Docs from Recommending Medical Marijuana

Members of Congress Urge VA to Stop Banning Docs from Recommending Medical Marijuana

Congressional Members Urge Department of Veterans Affairs to End Its Policy of Prohibiting VA Physicians From Recommending Medical Marijuana to Qualifying Patients in States Where It Is Legal

WASHINGTON, DC — In a letter to Veterans Affairs Secretary Robert McDonald released Wednesday, a bipartisan group of U.S. Senate and House members urged the Department of Veterans Affairs to allow VA doctors to write medical marijuana recommendations to veterans in accordance with state laws.

The letter comes four days before the expiration of a directive that prohibits VA doctors from recommending medical marijuana, even in states that have made it legal.

The Congressional members, led by Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Steve Daines (R-MT), and Jeff Merkley (D-OR) in the Senate and Earl Blumenauer (D-OR), Dina Titus (D-NV), and Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA) in the House, say the current policy “disincentivizes doctors and patients from being honest with each other,” noting, “It is not in the veterans’ best interest for the VA to interfere with the doctor-patient relationship.”

“Congress has taken initial steps to alleviate this conflict in law and we will continue to work toward this goal,” the senators and representatives wrote. “However, you are in a position to make this change when the current VHA directive expires at the end of this month. We ask that you act to ensure that our veterans’ access to care is not compromised and that doctors and patients are allowed to have honest discussions about treatment options.”

The letter also highlights the “sea change in the legal framework surrounding marijuana in the United States” since the directive was issued in 2011.

Comprehensive medical marijuana laws have been adopted in 23 states and Washington, D.C., and Congress has twice approved appropriations amendments intended to prevent the federal government from interfering with state medical marijuana programs.

“Current VA policy is doing a disservice to veterans by preventing their doctors from exploring all possible treatment options,” said Robert Capecchi, director of federal polices for the Marijuana Policy Project. “We trust VA physicians to prescribe painkillers and other prescription drugs that are far more addictive and infinitely more lethal. Why can’t we trust them to recommend medical marijuana to the patients who they believe could benefit from it?”

“We applaud these senators and representatives for standing up for our nation’s veterans. We hope the Department of Veterans Affairs will act compassionately and follow their recommendation. It’s time for the VA to stop interfering in the doctor-patient relationship when it comes to medical marijuana,” Capecchi added.


Thank you for visiting MDMMCC.com, the premier Medical Marijuana Certification Center in Maryland. Our Mission at the Maryland Medical Marijuana Certification Clinics (MDMMCC) is to provide the certification necessary for qualified patients to obtain Medical Marijuana in compliance with the Maryland Medical Marijuana Laws in the State of Maryland.  MDMMCC will have offices open throughout Maryland.

Bipartisan Group of Congressmen Call for VA to Allow Vets Access to Medical Marijuana

Bipartisan Group of Congressmen Call for VA to Allow Vets Access to Medical Marijuana

Current Policy Preventing VA Doctors from Recommending Medical Marijuana Set to Expire; Push Comes Amid Broad Bipartisan Support for Medical Marijuana in House and Senate

WASHINGTON, DC — On Wednesday, a broad group of legislators from both parties sent a letter to the Veterans’ Administration (VA) demanding a change in policy to allow veterans to access medical marijuana.

Currently, veterans are prevented from having full conversations about medical marijuana with VA doctors, and the same VA physicians are prohibited from recommending medical marijuana, even in states where medical marijuana is legal.

“Vets have served their country, and the least we can do is give them the care they require,” said Michael Collins, Deputy Director of National Affairs at the Drug Policy Alliance. “It is shameful that the VA prevents veterans from accessing a treatment for pain relief and PTSD.”

Senators Gillibrand (D-NY), Daines (R-MT), Merkley (D-OR), and Reps. Blumenauer (D-OR), Rohrabacher (R-CA) and Titus (D-NV) have spearheaded the letter, which is signed onto by many other legislators from both chambers and both sides of the aisle. Bipartisan support for marijuana reform has grown in the House and Senate in recent years. Last year, the Senate saw the introduction of the first ever comprehensive medical marijuana bill – the CARERS Act – led by Sens Gillibrand, Booker (D-NJ) and Paul (R-KY). The Senate also passed several marijuana-related amendments, including one that would allow vets to access medical marijuana. The House also passed several amendments, including one to protect state medical marijuana programs.

Studies have shown that medical marijuana can help treat post-traumatic stress and traumatic brain injury, illnesses typically suffered by veterans. Through a directive that is set to expire at the end of this month, The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), however, specifically prohibits its medical providers from completing forms brought by their patients seeking recommendations or opinions regarding participation in a state medical marijuana program. This not only hurts veterans — it treats them differently than non-veterans who see doctors outside of the VA.

“As a disabled United States Air Force veteran, I need to be able to see my VA doctor and have an honest conversation, where my doctor feels free to gain knowledge now  available through continuing medical education and relay that information to me in writing even, if that very documentation is what I need to participate in a state medical marijuana program,” said Michael Krawitz, Executive Director for Veterans for Medical Cannabis Access. Despite the expiration of the directive at the end of the month, the current policy will remain in place until the VA issues a new directive.

“We have worked to ensure that our veterans have the care they have earned and deserve.  That means allowing veterans to have full and frank discussions with their doctors without the fear of losing benefits,” the Senators and Representatives write. “It also means allowing VA doctors to provide opinions and recommendations to their patients in states where medical marijuana is legal.  Congress has taken initial steps to alleviate this conflict in law and we will continue to work toward this goal.  However, you are in a position to make this change when the current VHA directive expires at the end of this month.  We ask that you act to ensure that our veterans’ access to care is not compromised and that doctors and patients are allowed to have honest discussions about treatment options.”

The letter can be read in full by clicking here.


Thank you for visiting MDMMCC.com, the premier Medical Marijuana Certification Center in Maryland. Our Mission at the Maryland Medical Marijuana Certification Clinics (MDMMCC) is to provide the certification necessary for qualified patients to obtain Medical Marijuana in compliance with the Maryland Medical Marijuana Laws in the State of Maryland.  MDMMCC will have offices open throughout Maryland.