Those who serve the nation under a branch of the armed forces deserve the utmost respect and gratitude. One way that the United States does that is by ensuring that veterans have access to medical care and other benefits. In recent years, many states have approved marijuana for medical use. Though some veterans say that medical marijuana helps them cope with post-traumatic stress disorder and other ailments, the fact that it is not legal nationwide raises their concerns as to how it might affect their veterans’ benefits. One Florida lawmaker has submitted a bill in Congress that seeks to protect veterans from losing their benefits if they use medical marijuana.

Existing law says that veterans will not lose their benefits if they are utilizing medical marijuana through state programs. The bill presented by Congressman Greg Steube would prevent any future administration from changing that fact. The bill would apply to states that currently legalize marijuana for medical use.

In addition, this bill would also allow VA doctors to recommend marijuana as a treatment, discuss the usage with veterans who use it and even record the usage in the veteran’s medical records. The bill has support from other government officials as well as veterans themselves, 20% of whom use marijuana for medical treatment, according to one survey. The hope is that marijuana may be a safer alternative to opioids, which veterans are three times more likely to overdose and die from using, when compared with the general population.

Veterans’ benefits are important to service members and their families here in Florida. They are frequently included as part of a comprehensive estate plan to ensure that a veteran’s loved ones are cared for once he or she has passed away. If there is any concern that these benefits could be in jeopardy, an experienced attorney can assist families with the legal process and work to safeguard one’s benefits.