Jan 122012
 January 12, 2012

virginia cannabisVeterans For Medical Cannabis Access Announce Marijuana Rescheduling Legislation In Virginia

Veterans For Medical Cannabis Access [VMCA] is pleased to announce legislation posted today in Virginia’s General Assembly, House of Delegates that will help bring Virginia’s disabled United States military Veterans one step closer to access to cannabis through regular channels.

VMCA recognizes that some of the 800,000 Veterans that live in Virginia have found cannabis to be an indispensable addition to the standard medications available from the excellent Veterans Affairs hospital system. Many Veterans use cannabis as an adjunct pain medicine especially for pain that has a neuralgic component, and also for easing side
effects of cancer treatments. There are few medicines available to compare with cannabis for phantom limb pain or for treatment of PTSD.

According to Al Byrne, VMCA Director and military Veteran, Lcdr, SC, USN (ret), the federal schedule 1 classification, by law, states that cannabis has no medical value, and that has held up implementation of Virginia’s medical cannabis law and is also the reason for the VA to treat Veterans differently in Virginia then in Oregon, a condition he calls “Veteran’s medical treatment by geography”.

Federal schedule one status also means that the FDA approved study of cannabis of Veterans as treatment for PTSD that we support is being blocked: [see links just below for more information]

http://wh.gov/4xd

http://www.change.org/petitions/nida-and-dea-stop-blocking-medical-marijuana-research-for-treating-veterans-with-ptsd

HOUSE JOINT RESOLUTION NO. 139 is an effort originating from a request from Virginia disabled Veterans and the resolution is proposed by Delegate David Englin, a Veteran himself serving in the United States Air Force from 1992 – 2004.

We are hoping that Governor McDonnell, also a United States Military Veteran having served in the United States Army, will join us in this cause and regardless of the outcome of this legislative effort that the governor join in with the various state governors anyway by writing to the federal government and requesting federal scheduling be brought in line with “accepted medical use” as our Virginia law, the 16 or so other state medical cannabis access laws and the science as reflected in the position statements of the American Medical Association AMA and the American Nursing Associations ANA all clearly reflect. That is, in a nutshell what our legislative action is all about.

Michael Krawitz is a disabled United States Air Force Sergeant and is the Executive Director of Veterans For Medical Cannabis Access. contact: 540-365-2141

HOUSE JOINT RESOLUTION NO. 139
Offered January 11, 2012
Prefiled January 11, 2012
Requesting the Governor to petition the Administrator of the Drug Enforcement Administration to amend regulations governing the scheduling of drugs to move marijuana from Schedule I to Schedule II. Report.

———-
Patron– Englin
———-
Committee Referral Pending
———-
WHEREAS, the United States Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) is the agency authorized with enforcement of federal drug laws; and

WHEREAS, the DEA currently lists marijuana as a Schedule I drug, for which there is no known medical use; and

WHEREAS, despite the DEA’s position that there is no known medical use for marijuana, many studies have shown that, when used in accordance with an approved plan of medical care, cannabis offers numerous health benefits for individuals suffering from a range of health disorders including multiple sclerosis, glaucoma, asthma, human immunodeficiency virus, neuropathic pain, wasting syndromes, and emesis resulting from cancer chemotherapy; and

WHEREAS, a long-term, prospective, federally funded cannabis clinical study jointly administered by the National Institute on Drug Abuse and the federal Food and Drug Administration and conducted over a period of 30 years has not identified any demonstrable adverse outcomes related to chronic medical cannabis use; and

WHEREAS, according to a number of studies, cannabis is far less toxic and much safer than many commonly prescribed opioid and other medications, side effects are milder than those of many substances currently listed as Schedule II drugs by the Drug Enforcement Administration, and there has never been a reported death from overdose of marijuana; and

WHEREAS, sixteen states and the District of Columbia have decriminalized cannabis for limited medical purposes in recent years; and

WHEREAS, despite action on the state level to decriminalize cannabis for limited medical purposes, federal law criminalizing the manufacture and distribution of cannabis preempts state law and continues to impose penalties for prohibited manufacture and distribution of cannabis; and

WHEREAS, as a result of federal laws, states are unable to implement effective regulatory frameworks to ensure that individuals with legitimate medical need are able to safely access cannabis while also ensuring that individuals who do not have a legitimate medical need for cannabis are prohibited from accessing cannabis; and

WHEREAS, rescheduling of marijuana from Schedule I to Schedule II would decriminalize marijuana for limited purposes related to legitimate medical needs and allow states to implement regulatory programs for the manufacture, distribution, and use of marijuana for limited medical purposes; and

WHEREAS, pursuant to 21 CFR § 1308.43, any person may petition the Administrator of the DEA to initiate proceedings for the issuance, amendment, or repeal of any rule or regulation of the U.S. Attorney General adding a drug to, transferring a drug between, or removing a drug from a schedule; and

WHEREAS, in recent months the Governors of Rhode Island and Washington have so petitioned the Administrator of the DEA to initiate proceedings to amend regulations providing for the scheduling of drugs to remove marijuana from Schedule I and add marijuana to Schedule II; now, therefore, be it

RESOLVED by the House of Delegates, the Senate concurring, That the Governor be requested to petition the Administrator of the Drug Enforcement Administration to amend regulations governing the scheduling of drugs to move marijuana from Schedule I to Schedule II.

The Governor shall submit to the Division of Legislative Automated Systems an executive summary and report of his progress in meeting the request(s) of this resolution no later than the first day of the 2013 Regular Session of the General Assembly. The executive summary and report shall be submitted for publication as a report document as provided in the procedures of the Division of Legislative Automated Systems for the processing of legislative documents and reports and shall be posted on the General Assembly’s website.

About Johnny Green

Johnny Green is a marijuana activist from Oregon. He has a Bachelor's Degree in Public Policy. Follow Johnny Green on Facebook and Twitter. Also, feel free to email any concerns.
  • Nathan R Clark

    I am a disabled vet living in Spokane, WA. I ran across this article and am completely appaulled. The person who is responsible for this article obviously did not do their research. I have been going to the Spokane VAMC for almost 7 years now. I have been using cannabis for 3. First off the VA health system is so broken that I doubt it can be fixed. Your so- called excellent VA medical system does not exist. Some are better than others, but for the most part they all keep important medicines that will help veterans greatly with their issues, labelling any vet who says he is pain or asks for something to help with the pain as drug addicts, telling vets that they need to learn to live with the pain without meds, and letting health providers who know NOTHING about mental health diagnose or tell vets that they do not have PTSD, anxiety, panick attacks, etc. Most of the health providers who work for this corrupt system are all too often ARNP’s. Since you obviously do not know what you are talking about, an ARNP is a glorified nurse, incapable of providing adaquate and knowledgable input for vets. For those providers who are not ARNP’s, in almost all cases they are MD’s who got into trouble in the private sector, couldnt make good enough grades in medical school and residency, or unfortunately immigrants from other countries who barely speak english and all too often dont know SHIT about medicine. You are wrong, this is a problem nationwide. As for MMJ being looked upon as a viable medical option with the VA, it just is not true. The VA is full of employees who would never make it in the private sector, mostly because they are simply too old and not willing to progress with medical technology. Until all these people are fired and the VA starts highering knowledgable providers

    • Shane G

      While I agree with some of your points (as a fellow disabled veteran) – dont punch this prospective gift horse in the mouth before you have even had a chance to look in it. While the VA as a whole might be a ‘broken system in need of reform’ its still a name that is widely recognized as the ‘folk who take care of us broken vets’. This can have magnitudes of credibility in the civillian sector who are otherwise none the wiser.

      Its a start for us, ANY progress is better than this continued prohibition.