Congressmen Lou Correa (D-CA) and Peter Meijer (R-MI) reintroduced The VA Medicinal Cannabis Research Act of 2021. The bipartisan and bicameral 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 Senate Veterans Affairs Committee Chairman Jon Tester (D-MT) and Dan Sullivan (R-AK). Additionally, the legislation has the support of the House Veterans Affairs Chairman Mark Takano.
Rep. Lou Correa said, “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 consistently 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 and began recognizing that cannabis can play a role in our veterans’ healthcare.
“Last Congress, my bill became the first cannabis bill to pass the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee. This year it will pass the House. The momentum, support, and dedication are there. We need to get this done for our veterans. I am honored to have Congressman Peter Meijer, Senate Committee on Veterans’ Affairs Chairman Jon Tester, and Senator Dan Sullivan join me in taking action to help veterans in need of medical cannabis and opioid alternatives.”
“Veterans across the country continue to suffer from chronic pain and PTSD as a result of their service, and too many are being lost to opioid overdose and suicide here at home,” said Rep. Peter Meijer. “We owe it to our nation’s veterans to pursue alternative treatment that could be safer and more effective. There remains a need for increased research and trials on cannabis as an alternative treatment, and this bill will help ensure that the VA moves forward with these studies expeditiously.”
“VA needs to take its cues from the growing number of veterans who find critical relief through medicinal cannabis in treating the wounds of war,” said Senate Veterans Affairs Chairman Jon Tester. “Our bipartisan bill ensures VA takes proactive steps to explore medicinal cannabis as a safe and effective alternative to opioids for veterans suffering from injuries both seen and unseen. This is a necessary step in taking care of the folks who fought and sacrificed on our behalf, and I’m glad to join Senator Sullivan and our House colleagues in this effort.”
“With so much anecdotal information out there about veterans using cannabis to ease everything from chronic pain to PTSD, it is vital for VA to investigate if, when, and for whom, various forms and doses of cannabis may be effective,” said House Veterans Affairs Committee Chairman Mark Takano. “Rep. Correa’s bill will ensure VA employs the scientific rigor of a clinical trial framework as it continues to research cannabis use for veterans. I want to thank Rep. Correa for his continued leadership on this issue and am proud to support his bipartisan legislation.”
BACKGROUND: The VA Medicinal Cannabis Research Act of 2021 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 its plan to conduct research and to report their findings and progress while conducting the study periodically.
Abouot Rep. Correa
Rep. Lou Correa represents California’s 46th Congressional District. He serves as Chair of the House Homeland Security Subcommittee on Oversight, Management, and Accountability, and is a Member of the House Judiciary Committee and the House Agriculture Committee.