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America’s largest veteran group is calling for medical cannabis research

Pictured%3A+Denise+Rohan%2C+National+Commander+of+the+American+Legion
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America’s largest veteran group is calling for medical cannabis research

Pictured: Denise Rohan, National Commander of the American Legion

Pictured: Denise Rohan, National Commander of the American Legion

Pictured: Denise Rohan, National Commander of the American Legion

Pictured: Denise Rohan, National Commander of the American Legion


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Thor Benson / Cannabis News Box Contributor

The nation’s largest veterans group, American Legion, is calling for the federal government to move forward on medical cannabis research. Legion National Commander Denise Rohan said during a speech last week that researching medical cannabis should be a priority when looking for ways to treat veterans who have ailments like PTSD, chronic pain and more.

“We just need to know that the American government is focused on trying to find cures for not only veterans but for all Americans,” Louis Celli, National Director Veterans Affairs & Rehabilitation at American Legion, said. “And if cannabis, which is a drug, is something that can help [then] they have to do the research to do that.”

Legion passed a resolution in 2016 that assured its members it would fight for medical cannabis research, but there has been little progress since. Dr. Sue Sisley, a physician who has worked with veterans for over 20 years and has been studying how cannabis could help treat Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), told Cannabis News Box she’s happy American Legion is speaking out right now.

“The resolution argued the DEA monopoly should be ended and the DEA should be forced to license other growers for research,” Sisley said. As it stands, the University of Mississippi is the only supplier of cannabis for medical research approved by the federal government, which makes it hard to get cannabis for research, because there’s a very limited supply. Legion wants to see more suppliers approved.

“I’m encouraged to see [American Legion] acting on the will of their people,” Sisley said. “It seemed to have fallen off their radar for a bit.”

Some support for medical cannabis research has arrived in Congress. Sen. Orinn Hatch (R-UT), who is retiring, introduced a bill to increase the amount of medical cannabis research last year. Sisley said that is also encouraging, but she’s dismayed that the bill doesn’t seem to have a ton of support yet. She fears Attorney General Jeff Sessions will also block any progress.

“I don’t see Jeff Sessions making any meaningful changes,” Sisley said.

Though Donald Trump said throughout his campaign and since inauguration that he wants to support the veterans, he’s shown no interest in providing them medical cannabis for their health issues, and Sessions has essentially declared war on cannabis.

“Throughout his entire campaign, the one thing Donald Trump never veered from was that he defended the need for medical cannabis, and he always defended states’ rights,” Sisley said.

With Trump’s attorney general trying to crack down on cannabis and opposing it for even medical uses, it would seem the actions of this administration don’t match the past rhetoric.

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America’s largest veteran group is calling for medical cannabis research