Rep. Lou Correa Introduces Legislation To Research Cannabis For Veterans
Washington, DC — Today, Congressman Lou Correa (D-CA) and Congressman Clay Higgins (R-LA) introduced H.R. 712 — VA Medicinal Cannabis Research Act of 2019. The bipartisan legislation directs the Department of Veterans Affairs to perform clinical research on the safety and efficacy of medical cannabis in treating veterans’ post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and chronic pain. An identical version of this legislation was introduced by Senator Jon Tester (D-MT) and Senator Dan Sullivan (R-AK) last week.
Rep. Lou Correa said, “Last year my bill became the first cannabis bill to pass the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee. This year I will work to make this the first veterans cannabis bill to pass the House. The momentum, support, and dedication are there. We need to get this done for our veterans.
“With the opioid crisis raging across America, it is imperative to the health and safety of our veterans that we find alternative treatments for chronic pain and service-related injuries.
“Throughout my district, I meet veterans who depend on cannabis to manage their pain. Numerous veterans attest to the treatment benefits of medical cannabis. It’s time the VA did a formal study. Rather than risk becoming dependent on opioids, these veterans find relief in medical cannabis.
“I am honored to have Congressman Higgins, Senate Committee on Veterans’ Affairs Ranking Member Tester, and Senator Sullivan join me in taking action to help veterans in need of medical cannabis.”
Congressman Clay Higgins added, “Our bill allows the VA to conduct clinical studies on medical cannabis. This research is necessary to ensure the safety and effectiveness of medical cannabis for veterans in states where it is legal.”
“The VA needs to listen to the growing number of veterans who have already found success in medicinal cannabis in easing their pain and other symptoms,” said Tester, Ranking Member of the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee. “I recently introduced identical and bipartisan legislation in the Senate. Our bill will make sure the VA takes proactive steps to explore medicinal cannabis as a safe and effective alternative to opioids for veterans suffering from injuries or illness received in the line of duty.”
“We applaud Congressmen Correa and Higgins for coming together and introducing this bipartisan landmark legislation,” said Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America Legislative Director Tom Porter. “Our members have spoken loud and clear on this issue. In our latest Member Survey, 63% supported and only 15% opposed legalization for the medical use of cannabis. This bill takes a giant and necessary step forward to determine the safety and efficacy of medicinal cannabis.”
Rep. Correa’s bill, H.R. 712 — the VA Medicinal Cannabis Research Act of 2019, directs the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to conduct scientific and medical research into the safety and efficacy of medicinal cannabis usage by veterans with diagnoses. The bill directs the VA to provide Congress with a report dictating their plan to conduct research and to report their findings and progress while conducting the study periodically.