Federal Restriction of Cannabis During the Coronavirus Pandemic Puts Veteran Population at Risk
The United States veteran population must cope with the anxiety and trauma brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic. And without access to cannabis, many members of this population are having mental health trouble.
Mental health modalities have been a focus of national veterans organizations for quite some time. Since troubling reports of suicides and well-documented symptoms veterans experience after their time serving in wars run rampant in this community, it’s time to examine the treatments available to ensure they’re effective and accessible.
Many veterans find cannabis treatment effective. However, the United States operates with federalism a priority, meaning some states permit access while others – including the federal government – don’t allow it. Thus, some challenges persist amidst the COVID-19 pandemic.
The need for cannabis options is vital for veterans. And as government officials restrict this medicine and dispensaries shut down, the risk for veterans is apparent.
Some states are pleading for cannabis accessibility for these individuals. For instance, the Veterans Cannabis Project (VCP) in Massachusetts took out a full-page ad for a letter to Gov. Charlie Baker requesting he declare cannabis dispensaries “essential services” to ensure these treatments are accessible.
The majority of policymakers don’t have the same level of experience with cannabis treatment issues as leaders throughout the veteran community. Veterans looking for treatment at the Department of Veterans Affairs hospital system find it incredibly easy to obtain powerful and addictive opiates. Even psychotropic drugs are readily available to manage the plethora of doctor-diagnosed conditions.
However, since the federal government has cannabis included in the schedule one drug classification – with cocaine and heroin. This means under federal law, veterans cannot be prescribed cannabis, forcing veterans to find it in their home states.
As the pandemic continues increasing anxiety symptoms for veterans, we can’t help but wonder when federal law will catch up with the times.