Dear Mz. Polly … I’m a vet with PTSD. I’ve heard medical marijuana might help and it’s legal in my state. But the docs at Veteran’s Affairs won’t give me a prescription. What options do I have? Discharged and Distressed

Dear Distressed … Don’t be discouraged. The laws about marijuana are literally all over the map. Each State determines whether or not cannabis is legal for medicinal or recreational purposes and regulates the THC content and the sales and distribution of herbals, oils and edibles. So the one rule to remember is: Follow the laws of the state you’re in at the time, not the laws of your State of residence.

However, in your case, none of that matters. By working through the Veteran Affairs Administration, you’re working with a federal agency. And marijuana in any form is not legal federally. In fact, it’s classified as a Schedule 1 drug with “no current accepted medicinal use.” Therefore the M.D.s at the V.A. would be breaking federal law by writing you a prescription.

Medical Marijuana

There is currently a bill in Congress that would change marijuana to a Schedule 2 drug and explicitly allow the V.A. to write marijuana prescriptions, in which case the VA may have to pay for the medication as well. This bill is called the Compassionate Access, Research Expansion and Respect States (CARERS) Act.

First introduced in the last Congress, with bi-partisan support from Senators like Cory Booker and Rand Paul, this legislation would also permit currently banned research on cannabis and cannabidiols, give State laws precedence over federal laws, and allow banks to do business with legitimate marijuana companies, eliminating a major financial headache in States where recreational pot is legal. Reintroduced in the House in the 115th Congress, the bill is only 2 pages long.

As always, you could contact your House Representative or Senators and ask for their support of this bill.  In the meantime, your only option is to buy your marijuana outside of the federal system.