Indiana’s American Legion supports medical cannabis research

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FILE – In this Sept. 15, 2015 file photo, marijuana grows at a medical marijuana cultivation center in Albion, Ill. In a report released Wednesday, Jan. 11, 2017 by the National Academy of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine, the federal advisory panel took a comprehensive look at what’s known about the benefits and harms of marijuana […]

INDIANAPOLIS (WANE) The American Legion, Department of Indiana held a press conference Thursday to shows the organization’s support for medical marijuana also known as cannabis.

The announcement comes on the heels of an announcement by the Indiana Prosecuting Attorneys Council earlier this week where county prosecutors announced they oppose any attempt by the Indiana General Assembly to legalize marijuana for any reason.

The legion, which claims to represent more than 160,000 residents, released details of a survey conducted by an independent research firm which shows growing support for medical marijuana research and for the use of marijuana to treat mental and physical ailments.

During the news conference, Jade Griffin spoke about her son Mason who was killed following a 30 hour standoff with police in Spencer, Indiana.  Mason was a U.S. Army Veteran who suffered from PTSD.  Jade said she had recently taken Mason to Colorado so he could get marijuana to treat his symptoms.  She said she initially refused his request to take him there, but after seeing the effect of the drug on her son, her opinion of marijuana changed.

Paul Smith, a member of the American Legion for 30 years, spoke about how marijuana helped him overcome nausea while he underwent chemotherapy for cancer.

However the group of Indiana prosecutors contend marijuana is not medicine and argue that those who believe it can be used as medicine are relying on “half-truths and anecdotal evidence.”

A speaker at the Legion news conference said that stance was taken out of “fear” and likened it to false propaganda.

In August during the American Legion’s national convention in Reno, Nevada a resolution was passe which calls on the federal government to allow medical providers within the Department of Veterans Affairs to discuss medical cannabis as a treatment option in states where medical marijuana is legal.

The Legion is asking its member to lobby legislators to support its efforts to:

  • Remove cannabis from Schedule I of the controlled substances act
  • Enable more research into alternative treatments for PTSD
  • Allow VA doctors to talk with veterans about medical cannabis in states where it is already legal

The Legion also contends that a disproportionate number of veterans have been impacted by the opioid crisis and cannabis may be able to help relieve chronic pain.

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