• Press Release: Veterans for Medical Cannabis Access Reply to the Disappointing Response from the Obama Administration

    by  • May 28, 2012 • Blog

    Veterans Press Statement:
    Veterans For Medical Cannabis Access [VMCA]

    Monday, Memorial Day, 28 May 2012

    Subject:
    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
    conditions.

    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
    extreme need?

    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.
    http://www.veteransformedicalmarijuana.org/files/Undersecretary-Jun6.pdf

    2. Ready for the Fight: Rolling Stone Interview with Barack Obama
    <http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/news/ready-for-the-fight-rolling-
    stone-interview-with-barack-obama-20120425#ixzz1w6QGpmIw
    >

    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.
    http://www.nap.edu/openbook.php?record_idc76

    Contact:

    Michael Krawitz Executive Director VMCA
    3551 Flatwoods Road, Elliston, Virginia, USA
    Telephone: 540-365-2141
    email: Mkrawitz@vt.edu
    http://www.Veteransforcannabisaccess.org

    ###

    About

    Anthony Johnson is the executive director of the National Cannabis Coalition and our parent division, the American Victory Coalition. He also serves as a Board Member of Show-Me Cannabis Regulation, an organization working to end cannabis prohibition in Missouri. As President of the University of Missouri Law School ACLU Chapter, Anthony co-authored the measures that legalized medical cannabis possession and decriminalized personal possession for all adults within the city limits of Columbia, Missouri, in 2004. Following law school, Anthony practiced criminal defense for two years before working full time in the political field to help improve and protect civil liberties. You can follow Anthony on Twitter and also friend him on Facebook by following the links below as he posts mostly about civil liberties and politics with dashes of sports, music, movies and whatnot.

    http://www.nationalcannabiscoalition.com/

    Twitter Facebook