Saturday, June 2nd, the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) Department of Indiana passed a resolution at their state convention urging Indiana to adopt legislation that would implement a statewide cannabis treatment program, to license privately-funded medical cannabis production operations, to change the scheduling of cannabis in Indiana, and to petition U.S. Congress to enact legislation allowing for safe and legal access to cannabis for veterans.
This now marks the third “Big Four” veteran organization in Indiana to pass a resolution in support of access to cannabis for medical purposes, an accomplishment that can be attributed both to the dedication of Hoosier Veterans for Medical Cannabis founder Jeff Staker, who personally filed each resolution that has passed, as well as to the widespread belief among veterans that cannabis can be a safer treatment option for many of the conditions veterans face.
With the VFW joining the American Legion Department of Indiana and Amvets Department of Indiana in passing resolutions on the issue, there is a growing unity from veteran advocacy organizations in support of the proposal that Hoosiers, especially Hoosier veterans, should have legal access to cannabis. Governor Holcomb and the General Assembly would be unwise to ignore the pleas for help coming from the veterans who call Indiana home.
It is with absolute pride in our friend and ally Jeff Staker, the Hoosier Veterans for Medical Cannabis, and the Veterans of Foreign Wars Department of Indiana that we share the full text of the resolution:
WHEREAS, Indiana law currently prohibits the use of medical cannabis within the state; and,
WHEREAS, of the revised date of this Resolution, current on-line polls of our fellow Hoosier Veterans show that 86.4% are supportive of the medical use of cannabis to treat our veterans; and
WHEREAS, at the time of this Resolution the Congress has given consideration via the Veterans Equal Access Act, “To authorize the Department of Veterans Affairs health care providers to provide recommendations and opinions to veterans regarding participation in State marijuana programs;” and
WHEREAS, at the time of this Resolution the Congress is also given consideration via the Ending Federal Marijuana Prohibition Act of 2017, “To limit the application of Federal laws to the distribution and consumption of marihuana, and for other purposes;” and
WHEREAS, many other states (30 and Washington D.C.) have independently moved toward cannabis reform for medical use and have been successful in delivering a safe treatment alternative to those military veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress, traumatic brain injury and other chronic physical and mental medical conditions in those states, to mention a few; and
WHEREAS, prescribed drugs such as opioids and benzodiazepines are reported to have high potential for adverse side effects and high potential for abuse and addiction, which could potentially lead to hospitalization or death by the patients who consume them; and
WHEREAS, we recognize veterans are at risk of opioid addiction and overdose; and that states that allow medical cannabis have had a significant decrease in both addiction rates as well as overdose deaths.
WHEREAS, cannabis reportedly has nowhere near the adverse side effects as compared to other drugs often prescribed to veteran patients with chronic illnesses or debilitating conditions; and
WHEREAS, the VFW at the 118th National Convention in July 2017 did within their proposed by laws pass #627 Medical Cannabis Treatment By Veterans Administration Practitioners; and
WHEREAS, VFW members of Post 2067 and the 5th District of Indiana did unanimously vote to move this Resolution forward; then now, therefore, it be,
RESOLVED, that The VFW, Department of Indiana assembled in Indianapolis, from 31 May – 3 June, 2018 urge the Indiana General Assembly to adopt legislation for a statewide cannabis treatment program as a legal and safe medical alternative for veterans suffering from PTSD, TBI and other chronic physical, mental medical conditions and opioid/drug addiction who choose to use cannabis under the advisement and care of a private physician.
RESOLVED, that The VFW, Department of Indiana urges the Indiana General Assembly to license privately-funded medical marijuana production operations in the State of Indiana to enable safe and efficient cannabis drug development research; and
RESOLVED, That The VFW, Department of Indiana urge the Indiana General Assembly amend state legislation to remove restrictions from marijuana and reclassify it in a category that or there to, at a minimum, will recognize cannabis as a drug with potential medical value; and be it finally,
RESOLVED, That The VFW, at a National level to support and petition the Congress to enact legislation that would provide our veterans with legal, safe medical cannabis programs.