The Massachusetts Cannabis Control Commission (CCC) is actively reviewing potential changes to enhance veterans’ access to medical marijuana.
The proposed rules aim to address the barriers faced by veterans who are currently unable to benefit fully from the medical marijuana program due to federal restrictions.
Last week, during a CCC regular meeting, Commissioner Bruce Stebbins highlighted the barriers faced by veterans, stating that the existing federal prohibition limits their access to medical marijuana. Despite a large population of veterans in the state, their participation rates in the program are lower compared to other adults.
About The Proposed Rules
As reported by the Boston Herald, one of the key obstacles is the federal illegality of cannabis, which prevents veterans from seeking treatment through the regulated industry. For veterans utilizing VA facilities or those who are 100% disabled, marijuana remains inaccessible.
To address these issues, the CCC is considering waiving registration fees for veterans, alleviating the financial burden associated with the program. Additionally, it aims to expand the definition of “qualifying patient” to include veterans using VA facilities, provided they can furnish documentation of a condition that would qualify them.
The commission is also exploring the inclusion of PTSD and opioid addiction as qualifying conditions. Commissioner Kimberly Roy emphasized the higher susceptibility of veterans to opioid addiction due to chronic pain, and the prevalence of PTSD.
By expanding access to medical marijuana, the commission seeks to provide safer alternatives for managing chronic pain and mental health conditions among veterans.
Congress Is Also Working On The Cause
Members of Congress, including Rep. Mariannette Miller-Meeks (R-IA), are actively considering measures to streamline research and improve access to medical cannabis for military veterans. The Veterans Cannabis Analysis, Research, and Effectiveness (CARE) Act and the reintroduced Veterans Equal Access Act reflect a growing recognition among lawmakers of the potential benefits of medical cannabis in addressing the physical and mental wounds of war.
These efforts recognize the urgent need to provide safer treatment options for veterans and address the alarming increase in opioid addiction and drug overdose mortality rates within this population.
Image and article originally from www.benzinga.com. Read the original article here.