After Missouri voters approved a new medical marijuana program by a decisive margin of 65 to 35 percent in November, the state’s veterans have been playing the waiting game. Forget getting their cannabis covered by the government—would they finally be able to talk to their VA doctors about ditching opioids for cannabis (in the case of many chronic pain sufferers) without being at risk of losing their benefits?
The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that Missouri Veterans Commission Executive Director Grace Link announced new regulations on Monday that clarify the answer, at least for now, is still no.
“We have to meet VA standards,” said Link. “We have to comply with federal guidelines.”
Given the potential conflicts involved with a medicine that is not federally recognized, 1,350 Missouri nursing home residents, and the employees that work at the homes, are officially prohibited by Missouri law from utilizing the state-legal medical cannabis system. The official reasoning has to do with system funding. It costs $80 million to run the state’s veteran health care system, and a portion of that money comes from the federal government.
This is not a small issue. An American Legion study of 1,360 veterans in 2017 found that