A vast majority of Iraq and Afghanistan military veterans believe marijuana should be legal for medical purposes, while a majority also believe it should be legal for recreational purposes, according to a new survey.
The numbers offer one of the strongest indications yet how strongly veterans support legal medical marijuana.
The survey comes from the Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America IAVA) organization, which represents 400,000 veterans.
The IAVA survey stated that veterans have “consistently and passionately” said that cannabis is effective in handling some of the “most pressing injuries they face when returning from war.” However, federal law continues to list marijuana as a Schedule I illegal drug, even as 33 states have legalized medical marijuana and 10 have legalized recreational marijuana.
“Our national policies are outdated, research is lacking, and stigma persists,” IAVA stated.
Survey Finds Strong Veteran Support For Marijuana
Here are some of the biggest findings in the survey.
- 83% support making medical marijuana legal
- 55% support making recreational marijuana legal
- 90% agreed that more research should be done into the possible uses of medical marijuana
- 85% said the Veterans Administration should allow for research into the use of cannabis as a treatment option for veterans
- 91% said they would be interested in trying cannabis or cannabidiol (CBD) if they were available as a treatment option
- 66% said they had used cannabis recreationally
As things now stand, physicians with the VA can discuss medical marijuana with veterans, but they cannot recommend it because of its illegal status at the federal level. Of the veterans questioned in the survey, 82% said they would be at least a little comfortable talking to their doctor about using medical marijuana.
Ongoing Veteran Support for Medical Marijuana
The survey offers statistics to back up what veterans have said before. Many are now lobbying Congress to take marijuana off the list of illegal drugs. Congress is expected to debate the Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol Act this spring, which would do just that.
With a Democratic majority in the House, there’s even a chance it will pass there. The Senate is a different story. Majority leader Sen. Mitch McConnell has said he will not support marijuana legalization, and it’s doubtful the Republican-controlled Senate will pass the legislation.
However, two Army veterans who suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder have joined an NFL veteran and two ailing children in a lawsuit that seeks to have marijuana removed as a Schedule I drug.
One of those veterans recently said: “We have two types of people in the Senate — we have The Flintstones, and we have The Jetsons. Mitch McConnell represents The Flintstones genre.”