Three 2020 Presidential Candidates Propose Cannabis Policy For Veterans

Several Democratic presidential hopefuls honor American veterans with pledges they’ll provide cannabis access from the VA.

In honor of American veterans, three 2020 presidential candidates released proposals in support of veteran access to medical cannabis and cannabis research.

The three candidates vying for a place on the upcoming presidential election ballot — Sen. Bernie Sanders (VT), Sen. Elizabeth Warren (MA), and South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg — released extensive plans all focused on expanding cannabis access to veterans.

An overwhelming majority of veterans support access to cannabis and believe they would use it under Veterans Affairs doctor supervision if it were made available. Because marijuana remains illegal at the federal level, VA doctors cannot legally recommend cannabis to their patients, even in states that have legalized its medical use.

Sanders’ Medical Marijuana Plan for Veterans

Sen. Bernie Sanders released his “Honoring Our Commitment to Veterans” plan on Veterans Day.

The Vermont senator pledges in his Veterans plan to protect VA employees and “ensure VA providers have the option of appropriately prescribing medical marijuana to their patients.”

Under the plan, Sanders would “ensure any service member discharged from the military for marijuana use or possession can apply for a discharge upgrade, so they can become eligible for the full complement of services and benefits provided by the VA.”

“If a country is worth anything, it is how we treat the people who put their lives on the line to defend us. 5 years ago, John McCain and I expanded health benefits for veterans. When I am president, we will keep our promise to our veterans,” Sanders stated in a Veterans Day tweet.

Sanders served as the Chairman of the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee. In late October, Sanders released his first 100 days plan as president, pledging to end federal cannabis prohibition. That plan includes protecting military veterans who use cannabis.

Warren’s Medical Marijuana Plan for Veterans

Sen. Elizabeth Warren rolled out her plan, “Keeping Our Promises to Our Service Members, Veterans, and Military Families,” earlier this month.

“I also support legalizing marijuana. I’ve co-sponsored legislation to study the use of medical cannabis to treat veterans as an alternative to opioids, because we need to pursue all evidence-based opportunities for treatment and response,” Warren stated in her plan.

The Massachusetts Senator comes from a military family where her three brothers served in the armed forces. Warren also serves on the Senate Armed Services Committee.

“As Commander-in-Chief, I will lead our armed forces with awareness of the unique challenges service members, veterans, and military families face. I’ll honor our troops by not only executing sound military strategy, but also caring for them after they take off the uniform,” Warren stated in a Nov. 5 tweet.

Warren also proposed federal cannabis policy change by co-sponsoring the Strengthening the Tenth Amendment Through Entrusting States (STATES) Act, which would place the control of marijuana policy in the hands of states without interruption from the federal government.

Buttigieg’s Medical Marijuana Plan for Veterans

Mayor Pete Buttigieg shared his medical marijuana for veterans proposal on Veterans Day in an expression of support for service members. Buttigieg is a veteran who served in Afghanistan and now serves as the mayor of South Bend, Indiana.

According to Buttigieg’s “Our Shared Duty” plan, providing access for veterans to get the support they need when it comes to medical cannabis is a priority.

The Indiana mayor pledged to pass “legislation that will empower VA physicians to issue medical cannabis recommendations to augment a veterans’ broader treatment plan, in accordance with the laws of states where it is legal, and to conduct studies on the use of marijuana to treat pain.”

Buttigieg stated that providing veterans and their families with care is about keeping a promise.

“When you put your right hand up and make a promise to give everything to your country, the promise America makes is to remember you, respect your service, and care for you and your family. That promise lasts long after you hang up your uniform. It lasts a lifetime,” he stated.

Marijuana News and More

Find out more about each of the presidential candidates and where they stand on marijuana policy by visiting our campaign guide, 2020 Presidential Candidates On Marijuana.

To learn more about cannabis news and developments in policy, business and scientific research, visit our cannabis news page.