Dear Mr. Kennedy,
I wrote to you last month in support of HR 2029 allowing VA physicians to offer and counsel needy Veterans on treatment with medical marijuana. I appreciate your written reply. Further, I greatly appreciate your steadfast support for our Veterans and the VA that takes care of them. Cutting the VA budget is, as you imply, unacceptable. Thank you.
However, you go on to say that you did not favor the amendment that would have specifically lifted the gag order on VA physicians. First, gagging health care professionals is inappropriate, unethical, violates the sanctity of the patient-doctor relationship. We, physicians, not politicians must set the ground rules for acceptable therapeutics. This is no more acceptable with Veterans than it is for abortion.
Second, your point about creating a patchwork of regulations that vary across states misses the mark. As we are seeing, the Federal government is way behind on the legal implications of marijuana research and is, in fact, obstructing that very science. Whatever your feelings on legalizing recreational marijuana may be, it is clear that marijuana has therapeutic value, trivial risk of addiction, and very little risk of harm (the triad necessary to be Schedule 1). In fact, the problem with the proposed CARERS act is that it uses NO SCIENCE in its proposal to move marijuana to Schedule 2. Based on science, marijuana only fits (as a medical agent) under Schedule 5. I can provide the citations for you should you be interested.
The ending of prohibition, if the saga of alcohol is any guide, will be a state by state process until the Federal government gets in sync. Therefore, I believe that patchwork of state by state regulation is necessary to get our Veterans the help they desperately need and obviously deserve. PTSD, anxiety, depression, and chronic pain plague our Veterans, causing more suffering and death by suicide than ever in history. Please use your position to help these deserving men and women, and push forward on medical marijuana availability for Veterans, even if it must be a step by step process.
Thank you for your time,
Jordan Tishler, MD.