2020 Dem Seth Moulton calls for expanding cannabis access for veterans

2020 Dem Seth Moulton calls for expanding cannabis access for veterans
© Greg Nash

2020 presidential hopeful Rep. Seth MoultonSeth MoultonPardoning war crimes dishonors the military The Hill's Morning Report - Fallout from day one of Trump impeachment hearing We still owe LGBT veterans for their patriotism and service MORE (D-Mass.) on Friday endorsed expanding marijuana access for veterans. 

The Marine veteran wrote in the conservative Washington Examiner that in recent days he has introduced three bills to "modernize the VA's [Veterans Administration] cannabis policies." He noted his work with Republican Rep. Matt GaetzMatthew (Matt) GaetzWoman who threw drink at Gaetz sentenced to 15 days in jail Bottom Line Gaetz wants woman who threw drink at him to serve time MORE (Fla.) on the legislation. 

The legislation would prevent veterans who tell their doctors about pot use from losing their benefits, create a survey of veterans so medical providers can learn about their marijuana use and expand access to educational resources, Moulton wrote. He noted that he knows Marines who use weed, but can't discuss their usage with doctors for fear of losing their benefits.

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"Veterans seeking cannabis aren’t druggies," he wrote. "Many are American heroes who deserve a VA that researches cannabis and protects veterans from opioids using any method that’s safe. Federal drug laws currently prevent researchers from figuring that out."

Moulton argued that he believes allowing veterans to discuss and access marijuana will help the U.S. in general progress on the issue. 

"Making the VA a place where veterans can discuss and maybe someday access cannabis, will help our country evolve on this issue too," he wrote. "Through that evolution, I believe we will be able to tackle bigger challenges together — like ending the fundamentally-unjust process of locking people up for possessing marijuana, and, in effect, sentencing them to a lifetime of fewer job opportunities."

Moulton also voiced his support for releasing people who are incarcerated for marijuana possession and expunging their records. 

The Massachusetts lawmaker has launched a long-shot bid for the presidency, one of two dozen people vying for the Democratic Party's 2020 nomination. 

Several other Democratic White House hopefuls have gone further than Moulton on the issue, supporting legalizing pot at the federal level, including Sens. Cory BookerCory Anthony BookerFive takeaways from the Democratic debate As Buttigieg rises, Biden is still the target Leading Democrats largely pull punches at debate MORE (D-N.J.), Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth Ann WarrenFive takeaways from the Democratic debate As Buttigieg rises, Biden is still the target Leading Democrats largely pull punches at debate MORE (D-Mass.), Kirsten GillibrandKirsten GillibrandMaloney primary challenger calls on her to return, donate previous campaign donations from Trump Senate confirms controversial circuit court nominee She Should Run launches initiative to expand number of women in political process MORE (D-N.Y.) and Bernie SandersBernie SandersFive takeaways from the Democratic debate As Buttigieg rises, Biden is still the target Leading Democrats largely pull punches at debate MORE (I-Vt.).