NCIA spotlights need for cannabis reform for veterans


Tuesday, the National Cannabis Industry Association hosted a webinar focused on cannabis, health, and the impact of anti-cannabis legislative attitudes limiting access to medicine for our veterans.  NCIA’s Government Relations team was joined by Congressmen Lou Correa and Earl Blumenauer, who participated in a panel with the cofounders of the Veterans Cannabis Coalition, Eric Goepel and Bill Ferguson.

Photo by Benjamin Faust on Unsplash

Unfortunately, though all gave some and some gave all, the vast majority of our veterans are still unable to access safe, regulated cannabis. Many individuals in the veteran community struggle under unique health burdens stemming from their honorable service, and have experienced little success in managing their conditions with available pharmaceuticals. Through cannabis, veterans of all generations and with various conditions have experienced improvements in their quality of life by using cannabis.


The veterans on the panel spoke of their own struggles with the lack of effective treatment after returning from tours of duty, and in stories similar to most veteran supporters, the VA operates with their primary solution – pharmaceuticals.

Ferguson spoke of his return from Iraq and the VA providing him with Xanax and Loritab to help him manage the ravages of his service to his country.  He said the pills turned him into a zombie, yet when he tried cannabis instead, he found a warm blanket that he could count on for helping him cope with his post-traumatic struggles.  He was subsequently arrested for a marijuana offense.  This story is too familiar to many of the men and women in our country who have gone to the front lines in pursuit of our freedom.


In Congress, two bills aimed at tackling this issue have already passed out of the House Veterans Affairs Committee- H.R. 712: the VA Medicinal Cannabis Research Act of 2019, sponsored by Congressman Lou Correa (D-CA) and H.R. 1647: the Veterans Equal Access Act, sponsored by Congressman Earl Blumenauer (D-OR). In March, the Congressional Budget Office scored H.R. 1647 and found passing the bill into law would cost the federal government exactly $0.

As we move toward Memorial Day, it’s important to remember the sacrifices of our veterans and our responsibility to ALL patients, including our veterans.

If you’re interested in taking action by contacting your own legislators, the VCC has links on their site that allow you to do so.  You can visit them HERE.