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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 MoultonOvernight Defense: Iran talks set up balancing act for Biden | Pentagon on alert amid Russian saber rattling | Lawmakers urge Pentagon to be pickier about commanders' requests for more troops Is it okay to waste infrastructure dollars? Lawmakers want Pentagon, DOJ to punish current, former military members who participated in riot 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) GaetzGaetz, Greene tout push to oust Cheney: 'Maybe we're the leaders' Rural community leaders call on Gaetz, Greene to 'stop dividing America' ahead of US tour Gaetz, Greene start tour of America 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 BookerBush testifies before Congress about racist treatment Black birthing people face during childbirth, pregnancy Tim Scott sparks buzz in crowded field of White House hopefuls Never underestimate Joe Biden MORE (D-N.J.), Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth WarrenFree Speech Inc.: The Democratic Party finds a new but shaky faith in corporate free speech Debate over ICBMs: Will 'defund our defenses' be next? Manchin on collision course with Warren, Sanders MORE (D-Mass.), Kirsten GillibrandKirsten GillibrandAustin tight lipped on whether to take sexual assault cases out of commanders' hands Gillibrand touts legislation to lower drug costs: This idea 'is deeply bipartisan' A bipartisan effort to prevent the scourge of sexual assault in the armed forces MORE (D-N.Y.) and Bernie SandersBernie SandersGOP is consumed by Trump conspiracy theories Manchin on collision course with Warren, Sanders Sanders on Cheney drama: GOP is an 'anti-democratic cult' MORE (I-Vt.).