By Ed Coghlan.
There’s a bipartisan move in Congress to squeeze federal efforts to thwart the growing marijuana industry.
California Democrat Barbara Lee and Alaska Republican Don Young had introduced legislation in the House of Representatives that would bar federal funding for efforts that seek to detain, prosecute, sentence or initiate civil proceedings against people and businesses in the marijuana industry.
That may put a crimp in Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ efforts to limit the use of marijuana, both recreationally and medically.
In other news, the Department of Veterans Affairs will not conduct research into the effects of medical cannabis on post-traumatic stress disorder and chronic pain — some of the very ailments veteran patients rely on the drug to treat.
VA Secretary David Shulkin said in a letter Minnesota Democrat Rep. Tim Walz, that the department is unable to research medical cannabis due to federal restrictions. “VA is committed to researching and developing effective ways to help Veterans cope with post-traumatic stress disorder and chronic pain conditions.”
A VA review of existing medical research last year found no proof that medical cannabis works for chronic pain or PTSD.
For medical cannabis advocates, the VA Announcement is another indication that the Trump Administration is trying to hamstring the cannabis industry.
“This is so sad - one step ahead and two behind lately with this administration. Attorney Jeff Session is creating havoc with the medical cannabis community, putting fear into law-abiding citizens successfully finding safe pain relief from cannabis and now left to wonder if they are back to being targets by the FEDS again.,” said Ellen Smith, who works with her husband, Stu, as Co-Director for cannabis advocacy for the US Pain Foundation.
Her husband Stu, who also is a leading advocate for expanded use of medical cannabis to treat chronic pain, thinks this is another example of the “little guy” being squeezed.
“This is a conspiracy of powerful political and economic interests whose goal is to limit or eliminate the utilization of medical cannabis. As a legal caregiver I have provided many patients with medical cannabis. I have observed directly the often life altering impact of cannabis when utilized responsibly as a medication,” he said.”Our brave veterans will however be allowed to legally self medicate themselves with alcohol , nicotine, and opioids while the process of initiating the needed valuable research on cannabis is stymied for reasons which on the surface make no sense.”