High Ranking VA Officials Pushed Pot, Leaked Emails Show

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High ranking officials including Wisconsin native Jake Leinenkugel show agency leadership is closer to moving in the direction of legalized marijuana than previously thought.

While the emails do take note of AG Jeff Sessions archaic opposition to using medical marijuana by disabled veterans and other Americans, the Department of Veterans Affairs is not nearly as rigid on the subject.

From Marijuana Moment:

Under the subject line, “Big Bold Ideas,” Jake Leinenkugel, the senior White House advisor for VA issues, wrote that “thousands of Veterans claim their legal/illegal use of cannabis has made dramatic changes in their well-being.”

“Many claiming it saved their lives and got them off all opioids and most of their prescribed drugs issued by VA.”

“Ask WH & Congress for permission to propose legislation to study effects of cannabis on 100% disabled volunteer PTSD Veterans,” Leinenkugel wrote, referring to the White House. “Bold action in deference to [Attorney General Jeff Sessions’s] opinion of medical marijuana.”

“Right Thing to Do,” he added parenthetically, noting that the move is supported by veterans advocacy organizations like the American Legion and Disabled American Veterans.

[…]

“Good ideas here,” Scott R. Blackburn, who at the time was serving as an interim deputy secretary at VA and later became interim CIO and executive in charge for the department’s Office of Information & Technology, wrote two days later. “See comments in red below.”

“I would think we would be all for this. You would know better than I would, but I would think the resistance might come from the DOJ/administration. I agree with you that it is the right thing to do.”

High times at VA…? Maybe.

But it signifies agency leadership is not too keen on the prohibition AG Sessions is pushing from DOJ, and many veterans would agree with the agency’s take on what to do.

Source: https://www.marijuanamoment.net/top-trump-veterans-officials-pushed-marijuana-study-emails-show/

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19 COMMENTS

  1. I am a disabled Vet and I have daily pain. I use cannabis products. All of my doctors, of which I count 11 off the top of my head. They know I use cannabis topically and orally and only a couple of them have voiced concerns over it’s affect on the heart and I do admit it raises my heartbeats by about 15. What I use works to diminish pain, the presence of pain and to sleep without waking up with a chemical hangover like Ambien does. I explain to them how and what I use and the affects. It has allowed me to quit taking narcotic pain killers and to cut back on the gaba and muscle relaxers because I can find cannabis products that helps in these areas. I am also a college student and I am right now carrying an A- average. It’s not the mexican pot we smoked as kids in the 60’s. It is being refined and is an effective replacement for drugs that have undesirable side affects for people like me. After seeing what congress understands about social media doesn’t make me surprised that they embrace big pharma and ignore their constituents. Who knows, just like Europeans discovered that tomatoes are not poisonous. has anyone died from a marijuana overdose? Please tell me how it is better to shove refined chemicals down my throat that have undesirable side effects (It cause seizures?) than eat brownies with cannabis flower, or use a CBD homeopathic rub(which is remarkable, by the way) or a tincture? Please explain the logic of prescribing a medication that if you accidently double the dose it will kill you instead of a product that if you take twice as much it just makes you have less cannabis? It just makes me embrace our wise government all the more.

    • Amen, my brother in arms… Amen to life, versus “increased” death, suicidal, major depression, side effects. WTF is up with killing off the US’s most vunerable population?
      VA’s multi million savings? GrrrRawrrr.

  2. As I have stated before, too many in our government agencies watched and believe what was produced in the movie “Reefer Madness”!
    The thoughts of a person not being “in control” of themselves. While “smoking pot” is beyond rediculous!
    And, the “side effects/affects” can be controlled without the use of other dangerous drugs!
    There’s been many studies on this issue. Why aren’t our government agencies aware “pot” does help many veterans? Could it be, they don’t have a way of getting money from it?

  3. There is more to the therapeutic value of cannabis than just consuming it. There are a wealth of benefits just from the act of growing. It places you on a schedule, gotta keep those plants healthy. It engages your mind, gotta figure out your setup, feed schedules, water delivery if hydroponic, lights, filters etc etc. For those of us who also experience Seasonal Affective Disorder on top of our PTSD you can sit under your grow lights . Read a book for an hour, your mood will thank you and your plants will thank you for the extra CO2. The pride in a well grown and potent crop of your own medications is immeasurable. All these things, for me at least, help my PTSD considerably.

    • There is not enough written about the medical benefits of having a enjoyable purpose in life and how much it helps the mind body and spirit to calm and heal. I completely agree with you about the joys of attending to a garden and the self satisfaction of knowing what you are growing, what goes in it and how empowering it is to be self supportive. I firmly believe the loss of purpose and belonging we feel after leaving the service plays a major part in veterans suicides. Our choice to use a natural herb instead of chemical medications with harmful side effects is one where the benefits far outweigh any possible social or legal ramifications unless they effect our family of course. I would rather suffer then allow my family to suffer the effects of legal harm from my actions. That being said, I have found that law enforcement enforces through a general understand that growing for our own personal use is not a crime they are interested in pursuing. Keep money and harm to children out of the equation and you will generally be left alone. I say generally as there are many people who express their ignorance about cannabis as if it was equal to the political prohibition scheduling that was enacted in the early formation of the first US drug laws. They are usually the same people that drink alcohol, coffee and consume tobacco which are all toxic to poisonous at high levels and at one point outlawed in some country across the world as harmful substances. We know alcohol and tobacco will lead to cancer and early death, we also know they cannot say the same about cannabis. It doesn’t matter how potent the concentration as long as it is natural cannabis not a chemical synthetic, it will not kill you, it is not toxic. PTSD can lead to death, the medical effects of stress cannot be understated, so if you get relief from growing and consuming cannabis and aren’t hurting anyone, you have mine and millions of consumers full support. If anyone reading this believes cannabis users are stupid or of lower intelligence due to their cannabis use, please come to Colorado and visit the University of Colorado. I will bring you to the front of a class for students finishing their PHD’s and you can give us your dissertation on the nexus between cannabis use and IQ. We could use the entertainment.

  4. Aaaah some good news! The VA is actually being proactive and moving in a direction that is beneficial to the DAVs. See I don’t want to say it, buuuut we have to keep the faith and…. keep on keeping on. Eventually everything will work out for the best!

    Godspeed

  5. Legalize meth. Coke. LSD. Percocet. Heroin. Hashish. Nyquil w/ vicodin.
    Any concoction anybody can come up with, legalize it…

    At least who ever uses it wil be asbright as they are now…..

    Idiotic!!!

  6. when I can get a hold of MJ due to pain from CRPS & others to I do not get high nor the munchies! My BF who has smoked, vaped, ate and other used as lotions for sprains too, has seen me I dont get high from Weed. But it helps greatly with my pain, PTSD and more. It does help me sleep properly at night.

    I have not spoken to my current VA PCP about Weed/MJ but my previous ones I did and they were all for it! even before the VA was “allowed to speak with veterans about Weed/MJ”

    I know and have known way too many veterans who have positive outcomes with Weed/MJ than they do with BigPharma crap! It is greed and kickbacks that is stopping Congress & Senate from truly helping veterans!

    • I would be hesitant to inform your VA PCP about your cannabis use. Especially if you do not live in a legal state. Better safe than sorry.

  7. Makes no bloody difference what the VA or the pot group want, unless Congress passes this into law then its still a federal felony as if you are caught using it on a VA reservation, that is federal property and as such it becomes a federal felony crime. Whats so hard that this seems to be ignored? I am not saying anyone should not use it, but what I AM saying is that if you do use it and go onto a VAMC property and get caught, then dont be a bit surprised when your VA benefits are taken from you and you are banned from ever setting foot in a VA building or on VA property. And in some states you also lose your right to vote as well as any state issued license AND if you have any grants or such for college, they become due all at once.

    So whatever you do, please just be careful as until Congress changes this, you have a lot to lose.

  8. I was a week away from coming off TDRL after 3 years, and since only being seen at base hospital, I didn’t want to risk them finding anything extra in my regular lab tests. Since I’d never tried before, wanted to go as benign as possible. Just a plain old bottle of hemp oil with CBD. Swished a 10mg dose around in my mouth before bed, best night of sleep in recent memory. Another 10mg dose in the morning, closest thing to normal day in 10 years since I left Iraq. I’ve stopped three prescription since, and still feel better than ever. Left the house and nobody got hurt. I’ve got a mix of physical & mental health problems, helps in both areas. It’s cheap, no reason not to try. Much research, lower dose (<10mg, 2-3 times a day) will work better than high dose, which can increase pain signals. It wears off for me in about 10-12 hours, when I turn back into an a-hole.

  9. So if your less than 100 percent your life goes to pot. The sooner we get to make our own choices with our chosen physicians on our health care some will be better. Along with a central medical provider system accessing a completely safe total medical information data base. I shall pay forever Blue Cross and accept I am luckier than my fellow Americans because I am paying for my rights. God Bless our President Donald J.Trump.

  10. Admittingly, I voted for Trump, mainly due to lesser of two evils. I held top clearance, and found Hillary’s lackadaisical approach to nation’s secrets unacceptable.

    I will say that the future rainbow end results in DOJ’s ATG SESSIONS being R&R’d upon POTUS R&R.. if not beforehand?
    Whichever comes first, is fine with me.

  11. Yiu say beware the VA will take your disability away if they use. Marijuana. Who knows, they may try !

    If they do, it’s only another ilkegal tactic to harm veteran’s further. They have more excuses to go after veteran’s on disability.

    They play a deadly game of life and death. When they do this, I believe this is being done purposely to get the veteran’s into financial trouble.

    The VA has learned if they deny veteran’s disability claims 90%, will never reapply. So why would the VA not do this to any veteran in hopes they will not fight back.
    Or the veteran’s become so distraught from the VA taking away their deserved disability payments and the veteran’s falling behind on payments.

    What i believe is this tactic, is very effective and proved by the suicide rates of 22 a day.

    Someone posted those under 100% are not counted. I believe the right thought was they are using veteran’s that are 100 percent, as those veteran’s are determined total disabled.

    This maybe a Ploy to see if marijuana does help and if it does. The VA will begin saying those veteran’s are now treated and cured and then use that information to substantiate the reason for taking their deserved disability away.

    The VA pulled a dirty tactic against me recently, when I applied again for my traumatic brain injury claim.

    I also after being rated at 100% Perment and total since 2001. I filed for a clear and unmistakable error on my ptsd claim from when I first applied in 1978.

    I also applied for the new care giver program.

    I was sent for my traumatic brain injury comp and pension examinations and right after that the VA told me.

    Now, you have another comp and pension examinations for your PTSD ?. So, I strongly believe that is very adversarial towards veteran’s who dare challenge or cross those employees who feel veteran’s do not deserve everything, they deserve.

    What the VA does not know is I have attorneys waiting for the VA to try and take that disability away.

    Told me play the game, if they should send you a proposal to reduce my disability payments. Fill out the official forms and if the VA should Say they are taking or lowering my disability.

    Them I am to notify the attorneys and that’s when they will get involved in the fight. Not only to regain my 100% Perment and total disability.

    They will at the same time go after them for all of my disability Back pay to 1973, under the clear and unmistakable error.

    One asked has anyone died from using marijuana ?, answer NO! This answer is a very big problem for the VA.

    If veteran’s are able to use. Marijuana they will not commit suicide and the VA will loose out on not having NOT to have to pay those veteran’s who would have committed suicide after the takes their opiods away.

    They can not have control over the veteran’s.

  12. The Denver VA actively discriminates against veterans who use cannabis or safe medical extracts to relieve their suffering under the guise that is is a schedule 1 DRUG. Primary care providers even had the temerity to make mention it is against Federal Law to prescribe any medications for pain control when individual consumption of cannabis is a states rights issue and there is no specific Federal law against individual consumption of any cannabis extract unless you are consuming it on Federal Property and not immune by being a participant in the Federal Cannabis Program. Schedule 1 on cannabis is against cannabis sativa, specifically marijuana prohibition first passed by border states to discriminate against the Mexican population of migrant workers as the primary consumers. Marijuana is a slang Mexican term for cannabis, cannabis sativa is the type of cannabis that naturally grows in Mexico and central American countries due to the hours of daylight and long growing season. Cannabis Indica and Cannabis Ruderalis is the type naturally grown in North America. The drug slang term Marijuana has been used time and time again in the discriminatory description of cannabis prohibition. While all cannabis prohibition was enacted by the refer madness lies of our first drug tsar in securing his job, we must understand not all cannabis is technically prohibited by Federal Law. This ambiguity in law hasn’t stopped prosecution to the detriment of Americans, but still remains to this day. Harry Jacob Anslinger was the first commissioner of the U.S. Treasury Department’s Federal Bureau of Narcotics and responsible for ‘marijuana prohibition’. We know from the millions of people, possibly billions of consumers world wide that consumption of cannabis will not result in death unless a person does something stupid to endanger their lives or another while they are under the influence. We know from the dataset that countries would be up in arms if consumers of cannabis were endangering and causing deaths due to the money being made in the drug war on the people that consume it. We know cannabis is non-toxic and provides medical relief for many medical symptoms. We also know there can be different reactions from using different types and potency of cannabis extracts and consumables that vary from person to person, age to age. We know that cannabis has an effect on the developing brain of people under 26 that have not fully matured but the government’s interference with medical studies has precluded any definitive answers from being found. We cannot allow anything that goes in to our bodies to lack protections that state law can provide. We cannot allow our state laws to continue to add harm to us without getting off our collective rear ends and creating legislation where needed and removing outdated harmful laws through voting and gathering signatures on issues that matter to the people. People that use this herb are not criminals and should have never been treated as such. People that traffic interstate and across our borders need a regulatory process that makes common sense to protect us from the poisons that adulterate this natural herb and the list of offensive adulteration’s is unfortunately long and extremely harmful. I am writing this to hopefully get people to help recognize our voices are important and counted if we focus and actually do something to show we care about our fellow human beings. It is not the VA’s job to make regulations, it is ours. It is time for you to write your legislator on this subject and be clear that Cannabis needs completely removed from DEA scheduling to allow states their rights back to make laws created by their citizens. We still need Federal border protections against the inter-border trafficking of adulterated cannabis and the chemical forms of THC called spice or bath salts. We need a common sense law to redirect law enforcement to the real problem of gangs who will profit in anything that has commercial viability without caring about the detriment it brings to Americans. Please stop supporting the black market of cannabis and grow your own, or change the laws such as we have done in Colorado and focus on getting cannabis removed from DEA scheduling. I am a cannabis user that gets relief of my PTSD, chronic pain, migraines, and mood and am proud to say I am opiate and opiod free. The VA couldn’t give a rat’s ass about us except to use headcount to petition the government for more money, for more control and less accountability. They have zero standing room on what cannabis actually does as their stance has been one of prohibition, control and disciplinary abuse of veterans. They have participated in refusing to allow studies of cannabis due to the schedule 1 placement and will continue along those same lines while acting as if they have medical proof of what cannabis does to help of hurt us. If cannabis helps you, say something positive to help get it removed from DEA Schedule 1. If it doesn’t help you and you are anti-cannabis, please do your homework on it and help veterans that are helped by this herb, we can use your support. Thank you for the article.

    • Thanks for your post. The Denver VA is like to many VA employees. The God syndrome.

      They can admit their mistakes, but refuse to act to correct the mistake.

      They admitted that a VA manager was able to convince the Denver Chief of staff that I wanted to Murder employees at the clinic in southeast Colorado la junta Colorado.

      They asked what could we do to make this right ! Said how about a letter of apology from the Denver VA Director or the Chief of staff write me an apology letter confirming that I have never been disruptive and correct my official medical records.

      I guess I said the wrong thing and the lady representative, lost it !. Stated to me and my wife, (WHY), should we apologize to you for something that happened before we were in charge.

      I said excuse me but YOU just confirmed that I was falsely accused and punished and you are still the VA.

      Then my wife said out loud, YOU know the VA is not going to help veteran’s. The Denver VA representative, spoke and said, I don’t have to listen to that woman she’s yelling at me.

      I told the employee, she is not yelling at you, she was speaking to me. End of story.

      The VA employees now have a brand new VA facility, to abuse veteran’s. You can put lipstick on a pig and it’s still a Pig.

      The VA has become a haven for criminal types, who are willing to harm veteran’s, without a second thought.

      • Hi James, I am with you 100% on the outrageous conduct of corrupt VA employees that abuse veterans in medical treatment and the farce called the Disruptive Behavior Reporting System. I hope Benjamin does an updated story on the DBC and the inflicted harm it causes to all of our medical benefit packages and state of health. I would like to get all veterans reading to forward their story to Ben if he is receptive to it as I know he gets overwhelmed in emails from veterans and cannot read them all. We have been awarded a medical benefit package that is by Congressional order and protected by Federal Law. 18USC1035 in articular was used to successfully prosecute a VA supervisor for falsifying veterans records, cancelling consults with prejudice to veterans then lying about it to Federal investigators violated 18USC1001. He was awarded a 2 year Federal Prison sentence and probably why the VA does not want in any way to admit culpability for any offenses against your medical benefit package. Simply put they are their own gatekeeper and key master, they are the ones who investigate themselves and the VA Police will clearly tell you they work for the VA, not the veteran. President Trump signed executive order 13793 creating the Office of Accountability and Whistleblower Protection. The VA is actively attempting to eliminate that office and roll back the limited protection it offered veterans. I highly suggest you write a report to them of all the circumstances and request relief of harm from the falsified DBRS reports and request under VHA 1907.1 that supervisors of the offending VA employees remove the erroneous entries in DBRS and CPRS. If you ask to amend your medical records, that is a TIU edit and all they do is add any changes that are approved to change, but they retain the original falsified data in your record. That falsified data is readable by anyone with access to your record including the Compensation and Pension exam staff. The sole purpose to put harmful notes in CPRS and DBRS is to lawfully discriminate against you. It is critical to pick your battles, but I can think of no better battle then preserving a good medical record to get fair and equal treatment from the medical community and not be discriminated against when your conditions worsen and you have to face the C&P exam again. Remember if you file a report or complaint to the VA or IG to make damn sure it is complete. They have a one bite at the apple approach and will not allow you to submit any additional evidence on the matter and will prejudicially close the case at the slightest opportunity. They will claim you presented NO evidence even if you did, if you do not have verifiable proof of your submission. They will not use any witness statements of your family or friends as they will state those people will lie for your cause and are not credible. They to my knowledge will not review any digital evidence including lawful recordings of the incident, phone calls or anything that they are not required to review by Federal Regulations. On last count there are over 66k VA regulations and I couldn’t find one that gives a veteran due process against false claims that harm their medical benefit package and medical treatments. This again is a calling cry to all veterans, even those not yet effected to help us create due process and stronger accountability laws through our legislators. I am in the draft process of creating a whitehouse.gov request to end the DBRS and remove all complaints due to the lack of accountability and due process for veterans and encourage all veterans to support us and sign that petition when it is created. We need your help to correct this abhorrent system of injustice against veterans as they pick on who they perceive as the weakest first. Tomorrow, they might target you. Stay strong, and know Mr. Gallegos you are my brother in arms and I support you fully and will work tirelessly to right this wrong on a national level for all veterans. All veterans need to unionize to outnumber the Federal Workers Union and finally have a voice at the Congressional table of Veteran Affairs. Any help with that Ben would be of historical significance. Have a great day all.

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