Veterans Press Statement:
Veterans For Medical Cannabis Access [VMCA]
Monday, Memorial Day, 28 May 2012
White House replies to Veterans petition: http://wh.gov/4xd
Thousands of Veterans requested the Obama Administration to look
into the reliable science now available showing exactly how
cannabis works to alleviate suffering of Veterans pain and
save the lives of Veterans with brain injuries such
as PTSD and therefore make appropriate changes in policy.
According to Dr. Julie Holland, Editor of The Pot Book and a
medical doctor, there have been more suicides than combat fatalities
by a ratio of 25:1. This, given how effectively cannabis works
to save lives, is an unacceptable loss.
Recent research has revealed two things of great importance – one is
that suicide rates drop around the implementation of medical marijuana
laws and the other is that new research indicates similar brain changes from
athletic head injuries, military head trauma and brain changes from
Alzheimer’s and multiple sclerosis. New research available shows how a human
body-wide set of control functions called the Endogenous Cannabinoid Receptor System
may be activated by the ingestion of cannabis to cause both neural protection and
neural regenerative properties to help relieve these difficult to treat medical
We Veterans petitioned the Obama Administration to: “Allow United States Disabled
Military Veterans access to medical marijuana to treat their PTSD.”
The White House response to our petition was very disappointing. We
asked for a change in policy. To have our petition answered by the drug czar,an ex
policeman, is most inappropriate given the drug czar is bound by law to ONLY discuss
current law and has no power to discuss policy change with the public. Even
the lowest ranking staffer at the White House or anyone from the Veterans
Health Authority would have been more appropriate.
Al Byrne, retired Naval Officer and co-founder of VMCA, was blunt in his assessment of
the White House concern for injured Veterans:
“Vets have used cannabis for PTS since the Revolutionary War. We know what we
need and to be told by our President, the Commander in Chief, that he does not care about
those he has sent to war by denying medicine to the wounded is unconscionable.Ã’”"
The Department of Veterans Affairs is also now in direct conflict with the White House.
According to the Veterans Affairs, Undersecretary
of Health in correspondence with our Executive Director, Michael Krawitz:
“The provider (VA) will take the use of medical marijuana into account in all
prescribing decisions, just as the provider would for any other medication.Ã’” [1.]
The president, when asked why he doesn’t do something positive about medical
marijuana, is quoted in Rolling Stone magazine as saying “I can’t nullify congressional
law. I can’t ask the Justice Department to say, ‘Ignore completely a federal law
that’s on the books.” [2.]
If that is truly the president’s position it is either based upon ignorance of
his power or he is playing politics. The president can do many things – the DEA
was created by an executive order! The
president could ask NIDA to stop blocking research or he could ask HHS to
finally follow the recommendations of the Institute of Medicine [IOM] or he could ask Congress
to move forward on the issue or he could even properly reschedule cannabis as a medicine
by executive order. The president could do so many things but instead seems to be
sacrificing our nations Veterans. [3.]
One irony of the drug czar’s response to our petition is that his words seem
to be lifted right from the IOM report of 1999 that was actually commissioned by
the drug czar of that day, General McCaffrey. The IOM report did indeed say
that cannabis holds great promise in the future as a pharmaceutical but it
then went on to say that we know enough about the plant material [in 1999]
to give the whole plant material to those patients most in need right now
[in 1999!]. Don’t Veterans suffering and dying classify as patients in
Veterans for Medical Cannabis Access thought you should know
of this shameful mendacious policy of ignorance.
First President Obama’s administration ejected medical marijuana patients
from the workplace then he threw them out of public housing then took away
their ability to buy a gun then closed down their dispensaries and now
he has apparently set his sites on Veterans.
1. VHA letter of July 6, 2010, signed R. A.
Petzel, MD, Department of Veterans Affairs, Under Secretary of Health.
2. Ready for the Fight: Rolling Stone Interview with Barack Obama
3. MARIJUANA AND MEDICINE — Assessing the Science Base
Janet E. Joy, Stanley J. Watson, Jr., and John A. Benson, Jr., Editors
Division of Neuroscience and Behavioral Health
INSTITUTE OF MEDICINE NATIONAL ACADEMY PRESS Washington, D.C.