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. Chris Van Hollen (D-MD) 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.
Elected to the Senate in 2016 after serving in the House since 2003, Van Hollen is Chairman of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee (DSCC) and he sits on the powerful Senate Appropriations Committee, which funds all aspects of the federal government. Like IAVA, he lists reform of the VA healthcare system and strengthening of the GI Bill as 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. Van Hollen’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 sacrificed so much for our country – the least we can do is provide them with the care and support they deserve when they return home. Prohibiting research on any viable treatment option does nothing to serve our veterans – which is why the Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America, along with many other veterans groups, support the VA Medicinal Cannabis Research Act. I will continue working to help our country better serve and care for our veterans,” said Senator Van Hollen.
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.