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 MoultonYoung insurgents aren't rushing to Kennedy's side in Markey fight Wall Street ends volatile month in major test for Trump The Hill's Morning Report — Hurricane headed for Florida changes Trump's travel plans 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) GaetzLewandowski, Democrats tangle at testy hearing State probes of Google, Facebook to test century-old antitrust laws Five takeaways on Trump's ouster of John Bolton 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 BookerMark Mellman: The most important moment in history? Katie Pavlich: The Democrats' desperate do-overs Biden leads in new national poll, Warren close behind in second place MORE (D-N.J.), Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth Ann WarrenKavanaugh impeachment push hits Capitol buzz saw Mark Mellman: The most important moment in history? Katie Pavlich: The Democrats' desperate do-overs MORE (D-Mass.), Kirsten GillibrandKirsten GillibrandDemocrats seize Senate floor to protest gun inaction: 'Put up or shut up' At debate, Warren and Buttigieg tap idealism of Obama, FDR Trump court pick sparks frustration for refusing to answer questions MORE (D-N.Y.) and Bernie SandersBernie SandersJimmy Carter: 'I hope there's an age limit' on presidency 2020 candidates keep fitness on track while on the trail Mark Mellman: The most important moment in history? MORE (I-Vt.).