WASHINGTON, DC (August 16, 2018) – Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA), the leading voice of the Post-9/11 generation of veterans, is proud to announce that U.S. Sen. Angus King (I-ME) has become a cosponsor of the VA Medicinal Cannabis Research Act (S. 2796/H.R. 5520).
The legislation authorizes the VA to conduct research into the safety and effectiveness of medical cannabis as a treatment for veterans with chronic pain, PTSD, and other conditions. It also requires the VA to report to Congress at least yearly on the implementation of the research.
Having served in the Senate since 2013, King currently sits on the powerful Senate Armed Services Committee, which is charged with oversight of the U.S. military, personnel, and national defense priorities.
“Throughout the 115th Congress, IAVA has made it one of our top priorities to empower veterans who are calling for the medicinal use of cannabis to treat the wounds of war,” said IAVA Founder and CEO Paul Rieckhoff. “We appreciate Sen. King’s support for advancing this bipartisan bill that simply begins research at the VA to determine whether medicinal cannabis use is effective and if it is safe.”
“Our veterans have made immense sacrifices to protect our nation’s security. Tragically, some of them are still struggling with the effects of their service,” said Senator King. “Conditions such as PTSD and chronic pain are far too prevalent in the veterans community, and those who are suffering with these diagnoses are sometimes forced to turn to opioids – creating a number of new and serious problems. We owe it to our veterans who need medical assistance to do everything we can to help them face their challenges in healthy, productive ways, including research into alternative treatments that may help ease their pain. Maine’s veterans have earned nothing less than our complete support, and we must explore every possible avenue to help them.”
The VA Medicinal Cannabis Research Act, sponsored by Sens. Jon Tester (D-MT) and Dan Sullivan (R-AK), now has 5 Senate cosponsors, plus 56 in the House. The bill is among IAVA’s Big Six priorities for 2018, including Suicide Prevention, Government Reform, #SheWhoBorneTheBattle, #DefendTheGIBill, and Burn Pits/Toxic Exposure Injury Support.
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Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (www.IAVA.org) is the leading post-9/11 veteran empowerment organization (VEO) with the most diverse and rapidly growing membership in America. As a non-profit founded in 2004, IAVA’s mission is to connect, unite and empower post-9/11 veterans. Celebrating its 15th anniversary, IAVA has connected more than 1.2 million veterans with resources and community, and provided more than 8,000 veterans with personalized support from IAVA’s Master’s level social workers.