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House doesn’t want V.A. docs to give all options to Veterans

Currently, the Veteran’s Administration specifically prohibits their doctors from discussing or recommending medical marijuana for their patients.

This evening, Representative Blumenauer offered an amendment to HR4486 – Military Construction and Veterans Affairs and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2015 – that would allow V.A. doctors to recommend medical marijuana to qualified patients in states where it was legal. (background)

The amendment was defeated 222-195.

BlumenauerAmendment

This should outrage veterans everywhere. The lack of attention to veteran care is criminal as it is, but to continue to vote to censor doctors who advise veterans when other citizens can go to their personal doctor and get all the options, just isn’t right.

Here’s the roll call. A “Yes” vote meant that they wanted to change the law to allow Veterans’ doctors to recommend medical marijuana. A “No” vote meant they wanted to continue to censor V.A. doctors.

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32 comments to House doesn’t want V.A. docs to give all options to Veterans

  • Wristband Amulet

    Traitor Crater, The Maps’ll say. Later.

  • Servetus

    If a legislative body wanted to commit collective political suicide, there could be no better way to do it than to engage in human rights crimes against U.S. military personnel by denying them the medications they need to counter the ill effects of their military service. How stupid do politicians need to get before natural selection takes over?

  • pfroehlich2004

    Stanford Medical Center has once again removed a patient from the liver transplant waiting list due to said patient’s medical marijuana use. Let’s get 5,000 signatures on this petition!

    http://www.thepetitionsite.com/980/568/355/save-richards-life-and-demand-that-stanford-recognize-medical-marijuana-as-a-legal-drug/

  • darkcycle

    This is disgusting. These people should be removed, they’re an inhuman disgrace. They will probably get away with this, though. Pathetic, short memories, the American public.
    Hey Duncan…hope you’re staying dry, buddy. That’s some rain you guys are having…

  • STV

    Prominent Democratic leader, Debbie Wasserman Schultz, showing off her drug warrior street cred.

    • Jean Valjean

      A card carrying Blue Dog Democrat. In any other democratic country her policies would make her a right wing conservative.

      • Jean Valjean

        81 year old “Democrat” Sander Levin is another… (yes, we’re taking names)

  • kaptinemo

    My, how accommodating of therm to identify themselves for eventual removal.

    The Dwight Holton Lesson needs to be repeated, come Election day.

    • allan

      one of key players in the NotDwight campaign:

      What a lot of people don’t realize is that it was one member of the Oregon medical marijuana community that ignited the successful mj opposition to Dwight Holton’s campaign. My friend Jim Greig is a very humble person, and will likely tell me to tone down the praise that I know he deserves, so I will use someone else’s words to describe how this whole thing started. Below is an excerpt from Simon Owen’s article on USNews.Com:

      It’s no surprise then that Greig knew who Dwight Holton was when Holton announced earlier this year he was running for Oregon Attorney General to replace departing Democrat John Kroger. Holton had been interim U.S. Attorney for Oregon when federal agents executed search warrants on several marijuana farms in the state last fall. That and other actions from his office had irked medical marijuana and pro-legalization activists, including Greig, so Greig posted a message to a listserv of about 300 other activists suggesting that they begin publicly opposing Holton’s candidacy.”

      Jim is on his last days, literally. He’s one of my best buds and what he has done from his bed and wheelchair is – to put it mildly – inspirational. He rec’d a call from Ellen (OR AG) the other day and was grinning ear to ear when he told me about it when I arrived later in the day. He was doubly glad that I was the one that called her office and relayed the info.

      It’s hard watching a good friend and brother go… we have concocted several opeds and dozens of LTEs (somebody had to write all those LTEs supporting Ellen). I loved chauffering him and Elvy), he always had his fingers in something and… generally Johnny is right, Jim would tell me to tone it down.

      We’re losing another humble warrior my friends and I’m a sad potato(e). And that’s a pain ganja doesn’t relieve.

  • Howard

    Every “representative” who voted “No” should be strapped to a chair, eyelids pried open, and forced to watch and listen to this movie;

    http://marijuanamovie.org/

    Afterward, the nay voters should be asked if they would change their vote to “Yes” if similar legislation was introduced in the future. If they still say “No” they should be left in the chair to rot.

  • steve

    While I never wish ill will on anyone, I think in this particular case, it would certainly be fitting if all who voted “no” had a direct family member (say a parent, spouse or child) that got an affliction which could only be eased by marijuana. I wonder how long would it take for their tune to change when it would benefit them to have the laws changed?

    • Howard

      There’s a YouTube video out there somewhere of the former head of the Arizona DEA describing how marijuana helped his son after a debilitating motorcycle accident. He also describes his concern about his wife having to by marijuana off the street for their son. He’s a medical marijuana proponent now. Of course, prior to his son needing marijuana and his wife having to procure it, he diligently worked to harass, raid, and prosecute others for drug offenses.

      It’s not unlike Senator Rob Portman changing his hardline stance against gay marriage after learning his son is gay.

      What is it with this limited range of understanding until a problem impacts someone’s direct relatives? WTF?

  • ezrydn

    Give a child medMJ? No way! They’d let the tike suffer.

  • Howard

    OT, Michele just can’t STFU.

    DEA chief says marijuana-trafficking spiking in states near Colorado

    http://tinyurl.com/m3tlekl

    Speaking to the Senate Judiciary Committee, Leonhart said the softening of attitudes nationwide about the risk of marijuana has confirmed some of the agency’s fears.

    “The trends are what us in law enforcement had expected would happen,” she said. “In 2012, 438,000 Americans were addicted to heroin. And 10 times that number were dependent on marijuana.” [my emphasis].

    ——-

    ^^^^
    Bullshit.

    And;

    Leonhart, in response to a question from Sen. Charles E. Grassley (R-Iowa), said: “Having been in law enforcement as an agent for 33 years [and] a Baltimore City police officer before that, I can tell you that for me and for the agents that work at the DEA, mandatory minimums have been very important to our investigations. We depend on those as a way to ensure that the right sentences equate the level of violator we are going after.”

    ——-

    Michele, Has anyone told you the dangers of going the wrong way down a one way street? How can you be categorically wrong all the damn time?

    • War Vet

      Every time you say or write down her name, a fairy drops down dead. To revive the fairy, you must smoke an 8th of hydro in 20 minutes.

  • wendy

    Every 19 minutes someone dies from accident over dose of pills. Yet this simply yet amazing natural medicine is so illegal. The war on drugs should be against doctors for being pill happy! And yet ppl go to jail for a plant but rapists n murders go free! N our vets get nothing more than spit on by a government that they sacrificed their families lives n mental health for! Is this really the way we repay those who keep us free! I luv my country but I’m ashamed of its leaders!

  • allan

    I just sent Rep Earl a message of thanks for supporting our vets and cannabis.

    Send a message here:

    https://forms.house.gov/blumenauer/webforms/issue_subscribe.html

    • Common Science

      pfroehlich & allan – done & done. I don’t live in Oregon so I had to look an address up.

      Thanks Portland DEA!

  • DCReade

    Howard, thanks for sharing that article. I’m sure that our host will have something to say about it.

    Here’s one valid connection between marijuana and opiate addiction:

    “… Walker always seemed to have marijuana to share, too. He was arrested and pleaded guilty to selling the drug in 2005, at age 19. Some of his friends and family think he switched to OxyContin when he was on probation, because it was less likely to show up on court-ordered drug tests.

    Other opiate users say they first got high on prescription pills for that reason…”

    That’s from the Washington Post, 9 days ago.

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/local/fairfax-mother-of-young-heroin-addict-there-were-clues-but-we-had-no-clue/2014/04/22/ab66b03c-b06b-11e3-9627-c65021d6d572_story.html

    This happens with meth, too, and other pills like benzodiazepines: when put under the constant supervision of random testing either for probation or employment, the person switches from cannabis to other, more dangerous drugs that wash out of the body much more quickly.

    The Post story also notes that in one of the opiate addiction relapse cases that are the topic of the article, the teenager found his new heroin connection from someone he met in “rehab.”

    (One also has to wonder how many other times a teenager has been put in “rehab” even without an addiction problem, simply because they’ve been apprehended for using an illegal substance of some sort- there to make their first acquaintance with hardcore addicts, some of them with histories of multiple relapses and years in the criminalized street life.)

  • Common Science

    Thanks for the roll call Pete. So useful to have the; “Fugg ’em, it will never affect anyone I’m associated with” lists.

  • DCReade

    I think that it’s important to juxtapose the relatively benign, low side-effect, and mostly well-tolerated medical use of cannabis derivatives versus the much more hazardous effects of the officially sanctioned psychotropic medications being used for PTSD and other combat-related disorders. These legal drugs are being recklessly prescribed with minimal oversight, often in combinations, despite an array of physical, mental, and emotional effects that are much more severe. SSRIs, benzos, various antipsychotics, opiates…all of them much more powerful than pot, many of them potentiated by alcohol to the point of toxic and even lethal overdose.

    I just read Robert Whitaker’s 2010 book Anatomy of an Epidemic– which is basically about the medicalized exaggeration of emotional conditions that were considered of minor import in the 1950s and 1960s into full-blown disorders, in conjunction with the development of various pharmaceuticals to “treat” them- often doing more harm than good.

    I’m not a Prohibitionist about these medications. They’ve been known to do some good, when used advisedly for cases of congenital chronic depression or patients with histories of years of uncontrolled schizophrenic behavior. But serious side effects from these pharmaceuticals are common, dramatic, and life-changing. For all practical purposes, many of them are physically addictive drugs. Most of them seem to produce lasting deficits in brain chemistry, even after use has been discontinued for a long time. And quick discontinuance quite often leads to crushing suicidal depression (SSRIs) or physical withdrawal symptoms so severe that they cause seizures and death (benzodiazepines).

    I remember the 1960s-era panic over the supposed connection between LSD use and suicide. The connection between SSRI drugs like Paxil, Zoloft, and Prozac and suicide or violent outbursts is at least 10 to 100 times as great. It’s a shocking thing to investigate.

    Yet these are the contemporary treatments of choice for depression or anxiety-related conditions, even for first-incident acute episodes. Even though- as Whitaker documents- the “remedy” quite often eventually turns out to make the problem worse. Even though long-term use often leaves users with a life-long habit that’s as intractable as a long-time heroin habit.

    Read this book. You’ll realize the true scope of the addiction problem in this country. The majority of it is found in users of these massively over-prescribed drugs. And there’s no comparison between the severity of those problems and even the heaviest cannabis habit.

    Note: this post may sound like the extreme rant of a naturopath, a Scientologist, a religious dogmatists, or some other type of sui generis “antidrug” fanatic. I don’t fit any of those descriptions. But I lost a friend to suicide after he was introduced to Zoloft as a remedy for episodic depression. I can count off several other people of my acquaintance who simply don’t fit the traditional description of chronic depressives, who apparently went into a tailspin once they were put on an SSRI drug regime by their doctors. And when I read this book, my jaw dropped. This is a drug policy issue that calls for a serious airing out in the sunlight. Especially when one juxtaposes it with the present-day calumny against cannabis, and the demonization of its users. I guarantee you, there are teenagers who have been put on debilitating SSRI drug regimes in order to “cure” them of their marijuana “addiction”, as part of their “rehabilitation”. As well as teenagers who have utterly rebelled against that fate, even if it meant running away and losing oneself in the criminal underground.

    As for what’s been happening with the young veterans of the recent wars: many of them are being dosed in rotating regimes of various powerful chemical “adjustments”, with almost no knowledge of the iatrogenic problems that may be leaving them worse off than when they started medical treatment. Meanwhile, medical marijuana is being denied to them, even though its side effects are trivial in comparison.

    • allan

      well done post DCR, couldn’t agree more.

      Hey all, here’s an OT question:

      Has everyone/anyone signed up for Obamacare? Anyone intentionally not signing up? (allan raises hand)

      • Jose

        Hi Allan. I looked into it because we really need it (uninsured family of 4). I truly wanted ACA to work. I was even dumb enough to defend it among my conservative acquaintances. After reviewing the plans, deductibles, coverage etc. I decided it’s not worth it. I will just eat the penalty and call it a tax. Meanwhile my right wing friends get to gloat with an I told ya so and my kids go on uninsured. At least I get a larger tax bill to look forward too /sarc. Sorry folks, just my two cents.

        My anti-prohib spidey sense is telling me that maybe ACA will be a shoe in for the piss tasters. I can see Rick Scott at a podium “Well, we are subsidizing these peoples insurance now! We gotta check their peepee. The poor get bigger subsidies so we better check their peepee first!” Then during a moment of silence he will be thinking a la Apocalypse Now “Damn I love the smell of poor peoples tinkle in the mornin”. As far as I am concerned they can taste mine as long as all the politicians voting in favor agree to deep procto exams prior to all voting to find any trace of their heads! Oh, and they gotta pay out of pocket for it.

        Why are you taking a protest stance?

        • allan

          rare was the day that in raising my 2 kids I ever had insurance. I had to substitute with healthy diet, activity and hope and prayers.

          I would like some health benefits, a cupppla pairs of glasses every two years would be cool. But when I was told I “had to” that did it for me. Pardon my french but fuck that. Besides they’re gonna penalize me when they snafu’ed it here in OR so bad that they just shut it all down and if they can’t have their shit together why should I get involved? especially mandatorily?

          That and I’m just sick of their shit. My SSI is mighty handy but that they enforce poverty on me (limiting my income when I’m waaay under the poverty line) is absurd and adds to my list of complaints.

          And does this program recognize and accommodate my cannabis use? Does it allow for my mental health treatment (silly ciby)?

          And what DCR was discussing here adds to it too. What the hell is with this enforced pharma corp model of medicine? Nothing I’ve ever learned about health tells me to bombard myself with chemicals. That’s like the last line (I want) to take.

      • thelbert

        i did not sign on to obama care since i have va and medicare. my va doctor knows of my cannabis use and she can’t approve because the va does not allow free speech or freedom of thought about cannabis. i hope she can observe that the hemp users are healthier than the booze users my age. what we have now is socialism for the insurance companies. it would be better to imitate canada and socialize medicine, then we need to rationalize medicine so doctors can pull their heads out of their greedy asses and distingush truth from lies.

      • N.T. Greene

        I actually qualify for decent subsidies, so yes. But I have a young child and have to remain in working condition for a few more years — and since I do have some problems (and, specifically, require mental health coverage), insurance is a necessary evil.

        The ACA, and let’s call it the non-polarizing term please, while not the single-payer system we need, does some good as far as I can tell.

        It’s the polarizing effect that needs to go. Everything in our political system becomes polarized and we can’t even approach effective reform so long as that is true. At least when it comes to health care — the insurance companies that are part of the problem are also calling the shots.

    • Jose

      DCR,I too agree with your post. However, I have come to believe that the powers that be do not care about harm reduction, proper treatment etc. Their “concern” is just a mask for an underlying quest for money and control. For prohibitionist politicians replacing the word “children” in their rants with “profit” or “share holders” would be more appropriate.

  • Jean Valjean

    A few minutes on wikipedia revealed the following about the Democrats who voted against the motion:

    Catholics 7
    Blue Dogs 5
    Mormon 1
    Member “25 most corrupt pols” 1 (David Scott)
    And the rest are all sadomoralist members of one protestant group or another
    Not much separation then of church and state in their policy positions.

  • claygooding

    fucking retards,,the legislators and the people that elect them over and over so they can keep our country locked into one corporate profit war after the other for the last 4 decades and no end in sight,,always a new one on the horizon with just the right spin but all the wrong reasons,,so wrong our government is scared of the returning veterans becoming terrorists,,,that should explain a lot of their mindset on taking care of veterans.

  • thelbert

    even though the va doesn’t give a veteran all the options, with a little luck or knowlege the veteran can take his rights rather than waiting for somebody or something to give him his rights. that is what happened to me, i never asked anyone’s permission to smoke pot, and i think without cannabis i would be dead today. instead of enjoying a splendid day.