By William Stash Jones
Oregon Cannabis Connection
The renowned conservative veterans group, The American Legion, has come down on the side of sensible marijuana policy. The group recently made an appeal to the Trump administration to reclassify the plant to make it more readily available for research.
Under current law, marijuana is a schedule I drug under the Controlled Substances Act (CSA). Under that classification, the federal government considers it to have “no accepted medical use” and also a “high potential for abuse.” Both claims have been proven inaccurate and are a relic of the failed war on drugs.
One of the most prevalent uses for medical marijuana is in treating Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Many veterans have claimed that cannabis has been the only treatment that has been effective for treating their symptoms, and most that use marijuana have been “self-medicating” for years. In existing medical marijuana states, PTSD is a typical qualifying condition for a medical marijuana recommendation. Even in states that do not allow medical cannabis for PTSD, many are moving to add it to their conditions.
The American Legion sees the current scheduling as a severe impediment to proper research. The restrictions placed on a schedule I drug make it impossible for clinics and researchers to get quality medicine, proper research partners, and the funding needed to see proper clinical trials. Politico reports:
“We are not asking for it to be legalized,” said Louis Celli, the national director of veterans affairs and rehabilitation for the American Legion, which with 2.4 million members is the largest U.S. veterans’ organization. “There is overwhelming evidence that it has been beneficial for some vets. The difference is that it is not founded in federal research because it has been illegal.”
The Legion has requested a White House meeting with Jared Kushner, Trump’s son-in-law and close aide, “as we seek support from the president to clear the way for clinical research in the cutting edge areas of cannabinoid receptor research,” according to a recent letter shared with POLITICO.
Dr. Sue Sisley, who is conducting clinical research into cannabis treatment for PTSD, is hoping to achieve results that show its effectiveness. Sisley, a psychiatrist at the Scottsdale Research Institute in Arizona, was teamed up with John Hopkins University in Baltimore, but they have since pulled out of the study due to differences in protocol requirements for the research. The research is being conducted by the Multidisciplinary Association of Psychedelic Studies through a $2.16 million grant from the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment.
“I know what veterans tell me but until we have rigorous controlled trials, all we have are case studies that are not rigorous enough to make me, medical professionals, health departments or policymakers convinced,” Sisley explained.
More groups like The American Legion need to rise up and demand that cannabis be treated fairly and that the current federal laws are wrong and based in racism, fear, and myopic thinking. It is even more important for conservative groups to make their voices heard so misinformed law enforcement leaders like U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions can hear them loud and clear.
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