How the American Legion Became a Medical Cannabis Advocate

DAVID HODES

American Legion National Commander Denise Rohan: The group’s members are driving the Legion’s interest in medical cannabis. “Our membership numbers are so important,” she said. “They have got to mean something in this fight against the opioid crisis. Let’s get marijuana tested to find out if it is one of the answers.” (Photo courtesy of The American Legion)

 

 

Denise Rohan, the national commander of the American Legion, is scheduled to testify before a joint session of the House and Senate Committees on Veterans Affairs today to discuss what Congress and the Trump administration can do to improve veterans’ benefits. Veterans Affairs Secretary David Shulkin is also expected to testify.

Last week, as a prelude to that testimony, Rohan met the media at a National Press Club discussion about better ways to deliver benefits to the country’s more than 20 million veterans. In a question and answer session following the formal presentation, Leafly asked Rohan about the stance of the American Legion on medical cannabis.

“The American Legion is all about making sure that veterans are taken care of,” she said. “We have to find replacements for the opioid epidemic that we have in this nation.”

With that, she deferred to Louis Celli, the American Legion’s National Director of Veterans Affairs and Rehabilitation. Celli talked about the results of a nationwide survey of veterans and caregivers conducted in Oct. 2017. The survey found that 82 percent of all veterans and caregivers want to have cannabis available as a federally legal treatment. 92 percent support research into medical cannabis, and 1 in 5 veterans report using cannabis to treat their medical or physical conditions.

 

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