Sanders Pushing to Legalize Cannabis for Veterans

Sanders has pledged to legalize cannabis as soon as he is elected.

Wikimedia Commons / Nick Solari

Bernie Sanders is fighting hard to give veterans across the country access to cannabis. Senator Sanders recently co-sponsored and signed a bill to legalize cannabis for military veterans. 

With the third Democratic debate fast approaching, the 2020 election is imminent, and presidential candidate, Senator Sanders, continues to rise in the polls. 

The Veterans Medical Marijuana Safe Harbor Act would give U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) medical providers the ability to recommend medical cannabis to their veteran patient population, a practice that was previously impossible due to federal red tape. A similar bill was introduced to Congress back in April. 

As he has for decades in the U.S. Senate, Sanders continues to support truly progressive legislation, standing up for the rights of veterans, working people, and people of color. 

Once elected president, Senator Sanders has pledged to legalize cannabis on the federal level, allowing veterans with chronic pain and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) to access necessary treatment. 

Cannabis legalization is one of several core issues that Bernie has focused on in his campaign for president, along with Medicare For All. 

Displayed prominently on Sander’s website is a statement titled Honoring Our Commitment to Veterans, which reads, “As a nation, we have a moral obligation to provide the best quality care to those who put their lives on the line to defend us. Just as planes and tanks and guns are a cost of war, so is taking care of the men and women who we sent off to fight the wars.”

This is along with the Senator’s promise to voters that together, “We will legalize marijuana and vacate and expunge past marijuana convictions.”

Federal legalization would be accomplished through executive action by Sanders signing an order directing the U.S. Attorney General to remove marijuana from its current classification as a Schedule I controlled substance before introducing a bill to Congress to “ensure permanent legalization of marijuana.”

According to the official Marijuana Legalization Plan released by the Sanders campaign on Veteran’s Day, Bernie’s ambitious three-step plan to legalize cannabis aims to accomplish the goal within his first 100 days in office. 

Veterans returning home from overseas struggle with severe anxiety and depression, and rates of PTSD among veterans are much higher than the general public, with between up to 15% of veterans being diagnosed with PTSD during their lifetime. As a result of a lack of awareness and treatment, 124 veterans commit suicide daily in the United States. 

Having sustained serious injuries in battle, and even lost limbs, military service members may come home in debilitating chronic pain, requiring medical management. For many veterans, cannabis is an effective alternative to depending on addictive narcotic medications like opioids.  

Senator Sanders recognizes that allowing veterans access to cannabis will save lives. 

Among his campaign’s major goals relating to cannabis legalization, ranking high on Sander’s list of priorities once elected include criminal justice reform, expungement of criminal records, and investment into local communities of color which have historically been disproportionately impacted by marijuana prohibition.

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