Bill could help VA research medical marijuana for veterans

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WASHINGTON, D.C. - Members of Congress are introducing a bill that could lead to the VA researching medical marijuana for veterans.

The Medical Cannabis Research Act would end a gag rule at the VA that doesn't let doctors speak with patients about medical marijuana, according to the bill's sponsors.

"When you talk to our veterans, they prefer cannabis to opioids - not quite sure why it's taken us so long to figure it out," said Rep. Lou Correa of California.

The bill would also expand medical marijuana research capabilities at the federal level. "I have a high level of confidence that [the bill] will be marked up and passed out of the House Judiciary Committee," said Rep. Matt Gaetz.

TJ Thompson is a local Navy veteran who believes the bill is a step forward. "Medical cannabis does work. It works in reducing suicide rates. It works in reducing opioid rates, which are two of the biggest plagues upon us veterans," Thompson said.

Thompson says using medical marijuana has changed his life. "I'm able to participate in my children's lives: Go to my son's track meets, go to my daughter's orchestra concerns and not freak out," he said.

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