Three medical cannabis bills for veterans filed by democratic presidential candidate, Seth Moulton

Moulton filed the cannabis bills on May 13 alongside representative Matt Gaetz (R-FL) at the Department of Veterans Affairs

Bethan Rose Jenkins, Cannabis News Writer/Editorial

Shortly after he declared his optimism for gaining the Democratic Party’s 2020 presidential nomination, Seth Moulton (D-MA) filed three medical cannabis bills for military veterans. The bills, which were filed earlier this month, are similar to bills put forward by the pro-pot politician in the past. Since 2015, Moulton has served as U.S. Representative for Massachusetts’ sixth congressional district.

“Veterans want an alternative to opioids, and Congress should support them,” Moulton said. “People are using [cannabis] – including our veterans. Rather than ignoring this reality, Congress should let doctors talk with their patients about it, and we should learn more about cannabis so it can be safely used and properly regulated.”
(Pictured) Seth Moulton (D-MA)

Moulton unleashed the cannabis bills alongside representative Matt Gaetz (R-FL) at the Department of Veterans Affairs. One of the bills would instruct the VA to monitor cannabis consumption among vets, while the second would make it compulsory for the VA to teach healthcare providers and doctors about the cannabis plant’s therapeutic qualities. Then there’s the third bill, which would prompt the VA to establish a policy for medical pot.

“Unfortunately, many veterans fear discussing medical cannabis with their doctors, for fear that their benefits will be jeopardized,” said Gaetz. “I am proud to cosponsor Congressman Moulton’s bills, which will protect veterans’ benefits and will advance scientific knowledge about medical cannabis. This small step will make a big difference to veterans nationwide.”

Data from the VA suggests 20 veterans die daily

According to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), as many as 20 veterans commit suicide on a daily basis in the States. Although the reason why so many veterans choose to end their lives remains uncertain, many experts attribute the sheer magnitude of suicide cases to physical and mental conditions, such as pain, depression, bipolar, anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

Efforts to tackle this problem – not to mention the problem associated with commonly prescribed opioids, which cause thousands of veteran deaths in the U.S. every single year – have included introducing medical cannabis as a treatment for PTSD, depression, anxiety and chronic pain, as well as President Donald Trump’s signing of the National Roadmap to Empower Veterans and End Veteran Suicide back in March.

30 U.S. States list PTSD as a qualifying condition for medical cannabis

PTSD is a medical condition that exhibits symptoms like negative thinking, bouts of depression, insomnia, nightmares, mood swings, and substance abuse. The debilitating condition is incredibly common among veterans, many of whom will have been faced with gruesome and heart-wrenching situations when they were deployed for service.
(Pictured) Matt Gaetz (R-FL)

Thankfully, cannabis has been proven as an effective treatment, with 30 cannabis-friendly states listing PTSD as a qualifying condition for medical cannabis. With further research, the cannabis plant’s therapeutic potential for relieving PTSD symptoms can be exposed and more veterans can obtain pharmaceutical-tested plant medicines.

“We have a long road ahead of us until medicinal cannabis is fully-researched and legal, but a few steps now will speed that along. Veterans deserve the best healthcare in the world,” said Moulton, adding that the introduction of his and Gaetz’ medical cannabis bills for veterans “is a step in that direction.”