Florida Rep. Matt Gaetz maybe fighting harder than any other politician in D.C. for military veterans’ access to medical marijuana. Many veterans have been loud about the help they have received from medical marijuana with PTSD and chronic pain issues.
Due to the Schedule 1 status of marijuana, the VA Healthcare System will hardly acknowledge veterans outcry for medical marijuana access. Rep. Matt Gaetz‘s bill, if passed, would also get rid of the so-called ‘gag rule’ that prevents VA doctors from advising veterans about local access to state legal medical marijuana. At some recent panels Gaetz has held, many of the veterans have been outspoken, such as Matthew Rumple, a 21-year Army and Air Force veteran.
He said, “We have more of the worst drugs in our systems now than that could ever do to us.”
He said, “I liked the high. I loved the invincible, destroy-everything-kill mode, not realizing that the one thing I hated the most had now become the one way I could survive.”
He explained, “Psychotropic drug, painkiller, blood pressure. Anytime they give you something, they’re going to give you an additional medication to counteract the side effects from the first one. It has become a nightmare. For a lot of guys, it starts their world of opioids.”
Brenda Ross became dependent on opioids from a workplace injury, years after her service in the Alabama National Guard. Medical marijuana helped her stop taking them.
She said, “I think that medical marijuana is the best answer that we have, not just for intractable pain, but for veterans that are suffering from PTSD. The cocktails are killing people, veterans are dying every day, they are committing suicide and they deserve the option.”
Florida’s VA Healthcare System has given some veterans particular issue for registering with the state’s medical marijuana program. Christian Bax, the head of the Office of Medical Marijuana Use in Florida, has faced some harsh criticism for his management of the program and failing to meet mandated deadlines. The state is also being sued by John Morgan and others for failing to include the smoking of medical cannabis in the state’s rules. Currently, medical marijuana flower is unavailable to patients.