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May-28-2012 13:26printcomments

White House Statement on Medical Marijuana: Another Step Back for Veterans

'Use marijuana and go to prison' - Gil Kerlikowske's message to Veterans on Memorial Day

American veteran
Serving in the military brings little credibility when waging logical arguments with the federal government.

(WASHINGTON DC) - The group Veterans For Medical Cannabis Access [VMCA] issued the following news release after receiving word that their long hours spent presenting scientific and medical evidence of the benefits of medical marijuana, was simply rejected yet again.

Relying on the wisdom of Gil Kerlikowske, the nation's 'drug czar', veterans are reminded on Memorial Day that their sacrifices only gain them a small amount of credibility, certainly not enough to allow them to use a plant that grows naturally out of the ground that is a miracle treatment for the survivors of war and military violence for their nation, who suffer PTSD, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.

(White House replies to Veterans petition:

Thousands of Veterans requested the Obama Administration to look into the reliable science now available showing exactly how cannabis works to alleviate suffering of Veterans pain and save the lives of Veterans with brain injuries such as PTSD and therefore make appropriate changes in policy.

According to Dr. Julie Holland, Editor of The Pot Book and a medical doctor, there have been more suicides than combat fatalities by a ratio of 25:1. This, given how effectively cannabis works to save lives, is an unacceptable loss.

Recent research has revealed two things of great importance - one is that suicide rates drop around the implementation of medical marijuana laws and the other is that new research indicates similar brain changes from athletic head injuries, military head trauma and brain changes from Alzheimer's and multiple sclerosis. New research available shows how a human body-wide set of control functions called the Endogenous Cannabinoid Receptor System may be activated by the ingestion of cannabis to cause both neural protection and neural regenerative properties to help relieve these difficult to treat medical conditions.

We Veterans petitioned the Obama Administration to: "Allow United States Disabled Military Veterans access to medical marijuana to treat their PTSD."

The White House response to our petition was very disappointing. We asked for a change in policy. To have our petition answered by the drug czar,an ex policeman, is most inappropriate given the drug czar is bound by law to ONLY discuss current law and has no power to discuss policy change with the public. Even the lowest ranking staffer at the White House or anyone from the Veterans Health Authority would have been more appropriate.

Al Byrne, retired Naval Officer and co-founder of VMCA, was blunt in his assessment of the White House concern for injured Veterans:

"Vets have used cannabis for PTS since the Revolutionary War. We know what we need and to be told by our President, the Commander in Chief, that he does not care about those he has sent to war by denying medicine to the wounded is unconscionable."

The Department of Veterans Affairs is also now in direct conflict with the White House.

According to the Veterans Affairs, Undersecretary of Health in correspondence with our Executive Director, Michael Krawitz: "The provider (VA) will take the use of medical marijuana into account in all prescribing decisions, just as the provider would for any other medication.Â" [1.]

The president, when asked why he doesn't do something positive about medical marijuana, is quoted in Rolling Stone magazine as saying "I can't nullify congressional law. I can't ask the Justice Department to say, 'Ignore completely a federal law that's on the books." [2.]

If that is truly the president's position it is either based upon ignorance of his power or he is playing politics. The president can do many things - the DEA was created by an executive order! The president could ask NIDA to stop blocking research or he could ask HHS to finally follow the recommendations of the Institute of Medicine [IOM] or he could ask Congress to move forward on the issue or he could even properly reschedule cannabis as a medicine by executive order. The president could do so many things but instead seems to be sacrificing our nations Veterans.[3.]

One irony of the drug czar's response to our petition is that his words seem to be lifted right from the IOM report of 1999 that was actually commissioned by the drug czar of that day, General McCaffrey. The IOM report did indeed say that cannabis holds great promise in the future as a pharmaceutical but it then went on to say that we know enough about the plant material [in 1999] to give the whole plant material to those patients most in need right now [in 1999!]. Don't Veterans suffering and dying classify as patients in extreme need?

Veterans for Medical Cannabis Access thought you should know of this shameful mendacious policy of ignorance.

First President Obama's administration ejected medical marijuana patients from the workplace then he threw them out of public housing then took away their ability to buy a gun then closed down their dispensaries and now he has apparently set his sites on Veterans.

1. VHA letter of July 6, 2010, signed R. A. Petzel, MD, Department of Veterans Affairs, Under Secretary of Health.

2. Ready for the Fight: Rolling Stone Interview with Barack Obama

3. MARIJUANA AND MEDICINE -- Assessing the Science Base
Janet E. Joy, Stanley J. Watson, Jr., and John A. Benson, Jr., Editors
Division of Neuroscience and Behavioral Health


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Trickzta May 31, 2012 8:29 pm (Pacific time)

Cannabis is used in Africa as a medicinal herb as well as a social past time. It is therapeutic to take time out and enjoy the relaxed state of mind that the plant induces. There are written records going back two or three hundred years that document the many, many medical uses of this wonderful plant. To many tribes it is a cultural and traditional gift passed down from their ancestors. These tribes had no way of recording the virtues of this amazing plant. All information was passed on by word of mouth, father to son since time immemorial. I find it hard to believe that a modern day super power could be so thick skinned and short sighted, so arrogant and ignorant, so as to ignore and suppress scientific research results and make war on a self seeding plant that will still be here long after they're dead and gone. Stupidity in the highest degree, none so blind as those that will not see. Let's all hope that change is 'blowing in the wind'. America needs a strong willed man at the helm and not a double talking wimpish(insert word/s here)

Dr Phil Leveque May 30, 2012 5:50 pm (Pacific time)

Dr Leveque says Gil Kerlikowske "has joined the anti-cannabis Microcephalic, Contentious Cretins. It appears that he joins the psychopath against sick people and Veterans!" May 29, 2012 7:15 pm (Pacific time)

The US Government distributes ~300 rolled joints each to four American citizens monthly. Here's the problem; the feds are either: A. withholding a beneficial substances from the masses, or B. supplying four American citizens with a dangerous substance. So which one is it? It can't be both. May 29, 2012 5:31 pm (Pacific time)

“Marijuana, in its natural form, is one of the safest therapeutically active substances known to man.” DEA Judge Francis Young 1988 We allow the debate to always become more important than the TRUTH.

Donna May 29, 2012 4:05 pm (Pacific time)

Tiffany, you speak for yourself. Your ignorant opinion that cannabis is not a medicine is just that, ignorant. If you're too high to think for yourself and earn enough to pay your own bills, boo-freakin'-hoo. The government and the rest of us don't owe you housing. I have chronic, incurable pain conditions for which medical cannabis DOES help. It doesn't take away all the pain or naseau, but it takes away enough that I don't need addictive prescription medications that leave me a drooling zombie, and a slave to big pharma. I am a tax paying citizen that knows my own body and what works for me without causing a problem to another human being on this earth. Screw our government and ignorant idiots like Tiffany who think they speak for the masses.

knowa May 29, 2012 2:48 pm (Pacific time)

Its is now time that a open transparent debate should take place this summer.

Tony May 29, 2012 11:54 am (Pacific time)

I'm stunned that the suicide to combat fatality ration is 25:1!!! That's shocking. I'd like to point out to anyone compassionate enough to care that States who legalize medical cannabis see an 11% reduction in suicides for men in the 20-39 age group. Here: If our politicians really do give a damn about our Veterans, they'll reschedule Cannabis to Sched III or lower so it can be prescribed legally at the federal level. AG Holder can do it, Congress can do it, and yes The President of the United States can do it. Will they? NOPE, they'd rather keep their jobs instead of saving the lives of our soldiers. To all those cowardly Congressmen, I'd like to wish you all good luck getting elected with a 15% approval rating. Jerks.

Rick Rosio May 29, 2012 11:32 am (Pacific time)

we have been working with Veterans for over 6 years and have seen such improvement over the over-prescribed toxic narcotics . The damage done to our wounded heros by addiction is unpresidented when the science is supportive of cannabis therapy in dealing with CTE,PTSD and combat related injuries. To deny this is unworthy of the "drug czar" who is totaly unqualified for this debate. Any vet who is in need of a cannabis therapy program can contact us at and we will help them find a solution. N more needless suffering from those men and women who have given so much for our nation. Why are we allowing the administration to play politics with Veterans safe access.

Tiffany May 29, 2012 7:37 am (Pacific time)

I am a proud supporter of my troups. I love my fellow citizen. But my govenment? Joke !!!!!! JOKE!!!! We are so laughed at by the things we do here. C'mon who are you kidding? Marijuana IS NOT MEDICINE!!!!! I been a cani user for years, it doesn't make my pain stop, it stops me from thinking about it is all. Either legalize or don't. I prefer not, due to the fact it is causing a huge mess for EVERYONE!!!! Law officials are now confused on how to convict anyone of crimes associated with marijuana or if they can be convicted at all. Did anyone tell anyone how it would effect them after getting licensed? i can't get housing help now because i am a patient. Sec8 does not recognize these licenses? Thats just one issue. Now the whole nanogram level crap on DUI laws. OMG!!! It gets worse. From every aspect large or small this country was already in a mess, not they want to throw more crap onto the pile with weed. Stupidity is more the issue not marijuana. Keep it illegal or make it recreational like all you booze hounds do with the booze. Im so sick of hearing about any of it. Get it over with, I pay you taxes, do your fuckin jobs. We have to.

claygooding May 29, 2012 5:56 am (Pacific time)

What Obama could do is remove cannabis from schedule 1,,except that when the DEA loses control of who studies marijuana the whole house of cards prohibition of hemp is built on falls down. May 29, 2012 5:11 am (Pacific time)

Considering the Marijuana Tax Act was put into place for nefarious corporate gain as well as racist ideology that boosted the Prison Industrial Complex, those laws should be repealed immediately. It does not become the US to continue this baseless fight against humankind. Cannabis cures many dis-eases and should, by it's very nature be accessable to everyone who chooses to use it. What is it worth to a Free Country to be really free.

Fred May 28, 2012 10:12 pm (Pacific time)

If ever there was proof that progressive voters need a different party than the democrats, President Obama is it. For years the democrats have promised the moon to the progressives who incidentally are their base. Once elected, they turn their backs on those progressives and start making deals with the republicans. The next time progressives hear from democrats is the next election when the promises start again. If we really care about the issues we say we do then we need a progressive party. If democrats want to work together with progressives, then lets make sure they learn how to live up to what they promise us. As things stand, why hold elections? If everything you vote for vanishes the day after election day, why bother?

Anonymous May 28, 2012 6:03 pm (Pacific time)

GOD BLESS THE PARATROOPERS, AMERICA'S REAL FIGHTERS. What's President-elect Romney's position on that cwazee weeed? Gallup: Romney Takes Huge Lead Among Veterans over Obama NewsMax ^ | May 28, 2012 Mitt Romney is getting a big boost from US military veterans on Memorial Day. Veterans, about 13 percent of the adult population and consisting mostly of older men, support Mitt Romney over Barack Obama for president by 58 percent to 34 percent, while nonveterans give Obama a four-percentage-point edge, according to Gallup. "Obama and Romney are tied overall at 46 percent apiece among all registered voters in this sample," Gallup reported. "Men give Romney an eight-point edge, while women opt for Obama over Romney by seven points. "It turns out that the male skew for Romney is driven almost entirely by veterans," Gallup says. Obama gave Memorial Day remarks today at both Arlington National Cemetery and the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C. Romney appeared at a Memorial Day event in San Diego with 2008 Republican nominee -- and Vietnam veteran -- John McCain. Four years ago, McCain beat Obama among veterans by 54 percent to 44 percent. Overall, Obama faces any “gender gap” among men. Among nonveteran men, Gallup finds, Obama has a four-point edge, and they’re essentially tied (46-46 percent) among all registered voters, according to the Christian Science Monitor. Veterans are an important group. They make up 13 percent of the electorate (24 percent of all adult men). And although a dwindling percentage of Americans have served in the armed forces since the end of the draft in 1973, they’re an important part of the GOP’s base. In 2008, Sen. John McCain beat Obama among veterans by 54-44 percent. Read more on Gallup: Romney Takes Huge Lead Among Veterans over Obama Important: Do You Support Pres. Obama's Re-Election? Vote Here Now! (Excerpt) Read more at ...

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