Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump believes military veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) are weak excuses for human beings—spewing harsh comments on Monday night that suggest a Trump administration would not support policy changes within the Department of Veterans Affairs to allow those who have served our country in times of war to have access to medical marijuana.
Last night in Virginia, during a Q&A session for the newly established Retired American Warriors PAC, Trump, a documented draft dodger, suggested that only veterans who are not “strong” return from combat under the illusion that they have been plagued by this severe anxiety disorder.
“When you talk about the mental health problems, when people come back from war and combat ,and they see things that maybe a lot of the folks in the room have seen many times over, and you’re strong and you can handle it, but a lot of people can’t handle it,” Trump said, adding that he plans to fix some of the internal problems with the VA.
Some of the latest statistics show that somewhere around 20 percent of the veterans who fought in Iran and Afghanistan are now plagued with PTSD or severe depression. Another 20 percent of them returned home with a traumatic brain injury.
Incidentally, medical marijuana has been shown to calm the symptoms of these debilitating conditions.
Seventeen states with medical marijuana laws on the books allow people with PTSD to use cannabis.
Although Trump has previously stated that he supports medical marijuana “100 percent,” his latest comments could be an indication that he plans to turn his back on the veterans when it comes to giving them the freedom to use medical marijuana.
As it stands, the Department of Veterans Affairs will not even allow its physicians to discuss cannabis medicine with their patients—putting thousands of men and women who once stood in the trenches to protect the American way of life at risk for prescription opioid abuse and even overdose death.
To make matters worse, federal lawmakers have been unsuccessful at passing a temporary amendment aimed at allowing veterans to get their hands on medical marijuana.
Just last week, a government spending package intended to keep Uncle Sam operational until the beginning of December was signed into law by President Obama without a provision designed to allow veterans living in medical marijuana states to participate in their respective programs. The measure, which received approval in both the House and Senate earlier this year, ultimately met its demise at the hands of a back room conference committee—a sign that Republican domination on Capitol Hill is jamming up progress on this issue.
Interestingly, hours after Trump opened his mouth to bash veterans with PTSD, the White House, which has done nothing over the past eight years to pressure the VA to give veterans access to medical marijuana, came running to their defense.
“It is not a sign of weakness to get help,” White House press secretary Josh Earnest said in a statement. “In fact, it’s a sign of character and a sign of strength to ensure that you’re taking care of yourself.”
However, until the federal government decides once and for all to loosen some of the restrictions surrounding marijuana, many veterans who want to “take care” of themselves will not be able to do so in a manner that has been deemed safer than loading up on prescription drugs.
According to the Census Bureau, there are more than 21 million veterans living in the United States. So it stands to reason that any presidential hopeful looking to take control of the White House in 2017 would benefit from supporting policies that protect the best interest of our vets.
Allowing veterans to have medical marijuana without the risk of repercussions is certainly an issue both candidates should be considering.
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