VA and Medical Marijuana – What Veterans need to know

VA and Medical Marijuana – What Veterans need to know

Several states in the U.S. have approved the use of marijuana (cannabis) for medical and/or recreational use. Veterans should know that federal law classifies marijuana – including all derivative products – as a Schedule One controlled substance. This makes it illegal in the eyes of the federal government.

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs is required to follow all federal laws including those regarding marijuana. As long as the Food and Drug Administration classifies marijuana as Schedule One VA health care providers may not recommend it or assist Veterans to obtain it.

Veteran participation in State medical marijuana program does not affect eligibility for VA care and services. VA providers can and do discuss marijuana use with Veterans as part of comprehensive care planning, and adjust treatment plans as necessary.

Some things Veteran need to know about medical marijuana and the VA:

  • The use or possession of marijuana is prohibited at all VA medical centers, locations and grounds. When you are on VA grounds it is federal law that is in force, not the laws of the state.
  • VA clinicians may not recommend medical marijuana.
  • VA clinicians may not complete paperwork/forms required for Veteran patients to participate in state-approved marijuana programs.
  • VA pharmacies may not fill prescriptions for medical marijuana.
  • VA will not pay for medical marijuana prescriptions from any source.
  • Veterans are encouraged to discuss marijuana use with their VA providers.
  • VA health care providers will record marijuana use in the Veterans VA medical record in order to have the information available in treatment planning. As with all clinical information, this is part of the confidential medical record and protected under patient privacy and confidentiality laws and regulations.
  • Veterans who are VA employees are subject to drug testing under the terms of employment.

If you have questions regarding this policy please contact: population.health@va.gov

Emails sent to this address are not secure. Please do not include personal data. To send a secure email, use VA’s Ask a Question – IRIS (a secure website contracted to VA).

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