Bernie Sanders is fighting to legalize medical cannabis for Military Veterans

Bethan Rose Jenkins, Cannabis News Writer/Editorial

Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) has extended his efforts for cannabis reform after he signed onto a bill that would legalize medical cannabis for military veterans.

The legislation, which the 2020 Democratic presidential candidate cosponsored on Thursday, November 7, would provide veterans with a federal “safe harbor” to consume and possess medical cannabis in states that have legalized it on a prescription basis.

Moreover, the medical cannabis bill co-sponsored by Sanders would enable licensed doctors and healthcare practitioners at the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to recommend medical cannabis as a treatment for their patients.

In the event that Sanders’ bill for cannabis reform is enacted, it “shall not be unlawful” for veterans to “use, possess, or transport medical [cannabis] in a State or on Indian land if the use, possession, or transport is authorized and in accordance with the law of the applicable State or Indian Tribe.

“Findings” were contained in the proposal’s text, putting forward suggestions about the cannabis plant being potentially useful in the treatment of conditions that frequently plague veterans. Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), anxiety, depression and insomnia are just a few examples of the most common medical conditions diagnosed in military servicemen.

Opioids are often prescribed as a treatment. However, these pharmaceutical drugs are highly addictive and are responsible for the death of thousands of people in the U.S. every single year. Some studies have even demonstrated the potential of relieving opioid cravings with cannabis.

Legislation to expand medical cannabis access for military veterans was initially introduced by the bill’s original co-sponsor Sen. Tim Kaine (D-VA), alongside Sen. Brian Schatz (D-HI).

Sanders was first presidential candidate to push for cannabis legalization 

Of all the congressional members, Sanders has been one of the most active in terms of pushing for cannabis legalization in the U.S. His previous campaign – which took place in 2015 – saw him endorse legalization. He gained recognition as the first major presidential candidate to do so. 

Nonetheless, he has never before supported a bill to broaden veterans access to medical cannabis… Until now. Reportedly – according to a campaign advisor – the Democratic Senator may be open to the idea of launching a universal health care program program, too.

Democratic presidential candidate has a plan for cannabis reform in the U.S.

Sen. Bernie Sanders is optimistic that – if he is elected to be the next president of the United States of America – he will reschedule medical cannabis within his first 100 days of administration. Sanders plans on using executive action to enforce the changes.

He announced his plan on Thursday, October 24 at precisely 4:20 pm EST. His main goal is to eliminate cannabis from the list of Controlled Substances and urge Congress to enact legislation that will permanently legalize the plant in its entirety. 

The 2020 Democratic presidential candidate will designate roles to an attorney general, Health and Human Services secretary and Drug Enforcement Administration administrator. Collectively, these people will be required to execute activities that will result in the drug war’s demise, not to mention federal cannabis legalization. An order to reschedule the plant would be issued by Sanders as soon as the attorney general has been chosen.