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Frustrated with traditional therapies for chronic pain and post-combat stress disorders, a growing number of military veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars are turning to medical marijuana for their treatment, a move that has put them at sharp odds with the Trump administration. The White House has resisted calls from Democrats in Congress, pro-reform activists and even the American Legion, the nation’s largest wartime veterans service organization, to support research into whether marijuana can help veterans, apparently fearing that any move by the Department of Veterans Affairs to study its effectiveness will be another step toward nationwide legalization. The VA thus become the latest flash point in the national debate over marijuana legalization, pitting proponents of greater study or medical use against an administration that has tried to halt or roll back a steady movement toward greater tolerance of marijuana. “We all understand that if the VA is able to prescribe medical cannabis and they determine this is the right way to go, then all of a sudden it is available in all 50 states and territories and the calculus changes dramatically,” said Rep, Tim Walz (D-Minn.), a 24-year Army veteran who is the top Democrat on the House Veterans Affairs Committee. In December, VA Secretary David J. Shulkin refused a request by Democrats on the House committee to launch a study of marijuana’s effects on chronic pain and post-combat stress, asserting that federal law “restricts VA’s ability to conduct research involving medical marijuana or to refer veterans to such projects.” In a letter to the Democrats, Shulkin claimed a review of previous research found links between marijuana use and suicide, mania and psychotic symptoms. “The VA is saying, ‘We don’t even want to investigate whether medical marijuana is valid,” said Rep. Should veterans be allowed to use medical marijuana for post-combat stress? The Trump administration says no

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