Oklahoma begins process of shutting down 165 Medical Marijuana grow facilities

Oklahoma begins process of shutting down 165 medical marijuana grow facilities

Each Veterans' Day, we pay tribute to the brave men and women who have defended our country and its freedoms. 

Across America, communities will have parades, vigils, and services to honor our nation's heroes and the many sacrifices made to ensure America stays "the land of the free and the home of the brave." Yet, when it comes to providing veterans with access to certain medical treatments, like cannabis, we fall short of paying them back.

In the United States, 20 million military veterans have answered the call to serve their country, often enduring significant physical and psychological trauma. According to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, cannabis consumption within the U.S. military veteran community has seen a rise in recent years. In 2014, 9% of American veterans disclosed past-year cannabis use. By 2019-2020, this figure increased to 11.9%, with a noteworthy 20% among veterans aged 18-44. Veterans are clearly and openly self-medicating with cannabis, even as it remains federally prohibited to do so.

It is time the federal government acknowledges this reality and takes steps to regulate cannabis at the national level to give veterans the access to care that they need and deserve without putting them at risk of losing their benefits.

It's a mistake to assume veterans aren't turning to cannabis for pain relief and putting their benefits at risk in return. Today, 83% of U.S. veterans support medical cannabis programs – with 68% of U.S. voters supporting federal cannabis reform. It's a shame our nation's bravest must seek treatment discreetly, concealing it from their own doctors for fear of losing benefits. Yet, they lack the research-backed products they deserve. We must advocate on their behalf, as many feel they cannot admit use or seek help openly.

While progress is being made at the state level, with 38 states having legalized cannabis for medical use, and 21 states legalizing recreational use, there is still much to be done. With no national standardization, 20 million veterans have to navigate a minefield of issues around product format, potency, testing, driving under the influence, and workplace safety. The disjointed patchwork of state laws creates an untenable situation for veterans who may need to travel across state lines for medical care or purchase from the illicit market.

A federal cannabis regulatory framework must be realized to ensure veterans have access to state-legal cannabis without risking their benefits or breaking the law and to create a safer and more equitable industry in the United States. Such regulation could unlock the potential for in-depth research into the benefits and risks of cannabis, a field hindered by its current legal status. This research could pave the way for tailored, effective treatments to address the distinctive needs of our veterans.

Veterans fought for freedom, but those seeking medical cannabis face unfair treatment under current federal laws. It's time to regulate at the federal level, offering them safer, more effective relief, funding essential programs, and advancing research. This Veterans' Day, let's honor their service with the care they deserve. Join the call for change.

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Region: Oklahoma

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