By Ed Coghlan.
In the United States, the approval of medical marijuana is done on a state by state basis.
In Canada, it’s happening nationally.
On October 17, 2018, Canada will become the first G-7 Country to allow citizens to consume recreational marijuana. This is the fulfillment of a campaign promise of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau as well as the culmination of the cultural normalization of cannabis that has been ongoing since medical marijuana was approved in 2002.
Meanwhile, in the U.S.—specifically in Ohio—the state has added 71 physicians to the list of doctors able to recommend medical marijuana, bringing the total number to 293 certified since April.
Certified physicians can recommend medical marijuana to patients with one of 21 medical conditions. Patients will register for Ohio’s medical marijuana program through physicians, but the registry is not yet operational.
The conditions covered in Ohio can be found here.
In Oklahoma, or more specifically on the Cherokee Reservation in Oklahoma, the support for medical marijuana is less robust.
A Cherokee Nation official says medical marijuana won’t be legal on the Oklahoma-based tribe’s property even though the state’s voters approved use of the plant. Oklahoma voters in June approved use of marijuana for medicinal purposes. The state health department is accepting applications from potential patients, growers, dispensaries and caregivers.
Let’s turn back to D.C.
Two major developments have transpired on Capitol Hill with regard to veterans’ access to medical cannabis.
Sens. Bill Nelson (D-Fla.) and Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii) made history recently with the introduction of legislation, The Veterans Medical Marijuana Safe Harbor Act, to facilitate medical cannabis access to military veterans suffering from chronic pain, PTSD and other serious medical conditions and to fund clinical trial research within the VA.
However, Congressional leadership have also rejected bi-partisan language, known as the Veterans Equal Access Amendment, in fiscal 2019 Military Construction, Veterans Affairs and Related Agencies Appropriations Act.
Under existing federal regulations, physicians affiliated with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs are prohibited from filling out the necessary paperwork required to recommend marijuana in legal medical marijuana states. The amendment would have lifted this prohibition.