During a press briefing on May 31, 2017, Veterans Affairs Secretary David Shulkin fielded a reporter’s question regarding medical marijuana for veterans.
Referencing the American Legion’s recent letter to the Trump Administration, the reporter asked, “Should the Congress reclassify marijuana from a Schedule I drug to allow for it to be better used for medical purposes?”
“I believe that everything that can help veterans should be debated by Congress and by medical experts and we will implement that law,” Shulkin said. “If there is compelling evidence that this is helpful, I hope that people take a look at that and come up with the right decision and then we will implement that.”
The reporter then followed up by asking, “As a physician, what’s your opinion?”
“My opinion is, is that some of the states that have put in appropriate controls, there may be some evidence that this is beginning to be helpful, and we’re interested in looking at that and learning from that, but until time that federal law changes, we are not able to be able to prescribe medical marijuana for conditions that may be helpful,” Shulkin added.
According to Tom Angell, chairman of the Marijuana Majority, “These comments, coming from a medical doctor at the highest levels of the federal government, seriously undercut the attorney general’s contention that marijuana has no medical benefits. It’s time for the Trump administration to reschedule cannabis and to issue a new VA policy that lets the department’s doctors recommend marijuana to veterans who could use it to heal their war wounds.”
Dr. Sue Sisley is currently conducting the first clinical trial to study medical marijuana for veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder.