As Canada Reimburses Medical Marijuana For Military Veterans, The U.S. Keeps Failing Those Who Served (Op-Ed)Posted by On


“The lies, hypocrisy and inaction are enough to make anyone cynical…but a better world is indeed possible.”

By Eric Goepel, Veterans Cannabis Coalition

For a nation that puts its military veterans in such high esteem and notionally spends hundreds of billions of dollars on caring for them, the failures of the U.S. government to even marginally reduce suicide or overdose among veterans stands as a stark reminder that more can—and should—be done.

In the last 20 years that we have been working together as allies in Afghanistan and elsewhere, Canada has gone from federally allowing for the medical use of cannabis to legalizing it for all adults. For more than ten years, they have been reimbursing veterans for “cannabis for medical purposes,” starting with 37 clients in 2011 and expanding to more than 18,000 in 2021. Canadian veterans, unlike their U.S. peers, are seeing dropping rates of suicide

There is no question that veterans of the U.S. Armed Forces are using cannabis.

To what extent, it is hard to say. Surveys by veterans service organizations and government data like the National Survey on Drug Use and Health make it difficult in determining use patterns because of their limitations in precision and scope.

At this point, however, more than half of the county’s 18 million veterans live in states that have legalized cannabis for adult use. When you consider that all but a small number have passed laws that acknowledge its therapeutic value, the vast…

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