Veterans deserve access to cannabis: Here’s how to help

Essential info: H.R. 5520 / S2796, the VA Cannabis Research Act is in committee, on it’s way to a vote by the House and Senate. While not a full legalization measure, its passage would advance our understanding of cannabis as a legitimate medicine. You can support this action by completing the form here and contacting your Congressional Representative.   

The Veterans Cannabis Coalition is working for change

Eric Goepel is on a mission. Not for the first time; he served in the Army for seven years as an intelligence supervisor and specialist with the 1st Special Forces Group. Now he’s dedicated himself to moving the bureaucratic and legislative mountains in the way of legal cannabis access for his fellow veterans of the U.S. Armed Forces.

As founder and CEO of the Veterans Cannabis Coalition (VCC), Goepel is determined to organize and connect with a national network of advocates, and leverage political action into results. Specifically, he wants to put a serious dent in the number of veterans who are being prescribed problematic and often deadly opioid-based medicines; remove the stigma of cannabis use; and find ways to get more cannabis — which has never killed anyone — into the medical regimens of more veterans.

The VCC’s mission statement:

The Veterans Cannabis Coalition is dedicated to ensuring that veterans have access to the medicine they need without fear or stigmatization. We are focused on engaging stakeholders, educating policymakers and the public, and advocating for fair and equitable cannabis laws.

A good first step: legalizing cannabis research

“We need to remove cannabis from the Schedule 1 category,” said Goepel. And he has counted the Congressional votes it will take to achieve that goal. What’s needed are 218 members of the House of Representatives, and 60 members of the Senate to back a bill that ultimately makes it possible for Veterans Administration (VA) doctors to prescribe cannabis for PTSD, chronic pain, anxiety, insomnia and other conditions that afflict veterans, as well citizens who have never served.

Trump has voiced support for state’s rights to decide legalization, but his long-term position on cannabis (or almost anything) is unpredictable. Meanwhile, Republicans are generally aligned against the legalization of cannabis. So in practical terms, expanding access to veterans means helping Democrats get elected, so that measures like H.R.5520/SS2796, the VA Medicinal Cannabis Research Act — which would authorize the Secretary of Veterans Affairs to conduct and support research on the efficacy and safety of medicinal cannabis — have chance to get enacted as law.  

Want to support the research? Complete this form

There is much work, strategic and tactical,  to do on many front before veterans have full legal access to this safe and effective medicine. The first step is to simply allow research, but it’s a critical step on that path. We urge you to use this easy-to-complete form to contact your Congressional Representative now.  Thank you for supporting our veterans!

 

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