Many of my college students are veterans and high percentage of them suffer from PTSD in varying degrees. I have spent hundreds of hours sitting with these men and women, listening to them, and encouraging them in their daily battle for some semblance of normalcy.
Many of these heroes have told me stories of being turned into “living zombies” by the addicting drugs that are prescribed to them through the VA because Congress has forbidden the VA from offering our Vets an alternative. They tell me that they are desperate for better options. Many of them risk being labeled criminals because marijuana is the only thing they have found that allows them to function “normally”.
Although the majority of states have legalized the medical use of marijuana, and an overwhelming majority of voters support legalization of marijuana as an affordable and non-addictive choice, our current Representatives in Congress still classify marijuana as a Schedule 1 narcotic.
Schedule I drugs, substances, or chemicals are defined as drugs with no currently accepted medical use and a high potential for abuse. Some examples of Schedule I drugs are:
heroin, lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD), marijuana (cannabis), 3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine (ecstasy), methaqualone, and peyote (https://www.dea.gov/druginfo/ds.shtml)
Our own Congressman , Dennis Ross, bragged about his cruel and mean-spirited actions in his press release of March 2017 when he listed with pride his vote for “Preventing Veterans Administration Doctors from Recommending Marijuana as Medicine” https://dennisross.house.gov/news/documentsingle.aspx?DocumentID=398567.
Dennis Ross, along with his Republican colleagues, again chose to ignore the needs of Veterans in the summer of 2017:
Republican lawmakers have blocked an amendment to a bill that would have allowed veterans to access medical marijuana through federal doctors in states where the medicinal use of the drug is legal.
The House Rules Committee removed the so-called “Veterans Equal Access” amendment from the Veterans Affairs (VA) department’s funding bill for the next year, McClatchy DC reported.
The amendment proposed that VA doctors should consider medical marijuana as a form of pain relief for interested patients in states that have legalized the drug’s use in medicine. VA physicians are currently proscribed from recommending medical marijuana, since the drug is illegal under federal law. Veterans can seek out medical cannabis but have to pay for it out of their own pocket. – http://www.newsweek.com/pot-pain-medical-marijuana-veterans-affairs-642684
While there is compelling evidence that marijuana helps with PTSD, convulsions, and in dealing with the side-effects of cancer treatment, Dennis Ross still leads the charge to keep Veterans and his constituents from having legal, effective, medical options. The only plausible explanation for this is that Ross thinks excessive corporate profits outweigh the health and well-being of those that sacrificed for this country.
I believe it is important to offer every kind of help available to our Veterans and sick loved ones. I think it is cruel to withhold what could be a beneficial, non-addictive, low-side-effect, form of relief for those that need it most. Because of this, I pledge that when I am elected to replace Dennis Ross as your representative in congress, I will:
- Work to decriminalize marijuana;
- Work to remove marijuana from the Controlled Substance Act;
- Work to pass laws making the availability of marijuana for medical purposes legal in the United States; and
- Work on legislation to fund research into the propriety and effectiveness of marijuana for medical purposes.