According to the United States Census Bureau there are over 17 million veterans in America. This includes veterans from the recent wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the first Gulf War, Vietnam, Korea, and even still over 300,000 World War II veterans. Most of these veterans use the VA Healthcare system and it can be confusing as to what someone can and cannot use inside of this system. Specifically, many Maryland veterans are wondering about using medical marijuana.
Do you currently live in Maryland or Delaware and have questions about medical marijuana or getting a medical marijuana card? Speak with our team today at 410-368-0420 or 302-564-9994 about any questions you may have.
What Is The VA?
Understanding what the VA is and how it functions can help us better clarify questions and describe why some Maryland veterans might have confusion about medical marijuana. The United States Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) provides healthcare services and other benefits to millions of veterans across the U.S.
As a part of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, the VA health system is run by a federal agency. This is where the confusion comes in for many Maryland or Delaware veterans about their ability to access medical marijuana as there is still a federal prohibition against marijuana. Let us look at what the VA’s policy is on medical marijuana to clarify any confusion.
The VA And Medical Marijuana
According to VA policy, veterans will not be denied benefits if they use medical cannabis but it’s still against the VA’s policy for VA doctors to certify, prescribe or pay for in any capacity marijuana use. The VA encourages veterans to discuss marijuana with their healthcare provider. It is worth noting that marijuana use will be marked on the patient’s medical record.
So, despite a veteran’s ability to use medical marijuana, they are not able to receive a certification in Maryland or Delaware for medical cannabis from a VA doctor. This means you can not go to your local VA clinic or hospital to receive a certification for medical marijuana in Maryland or Delaware. It doesn’t mean that you will lose your VA benefits if you are a medical cannabis patient, though, in the states of Maryland and Delaware. It just means a VA doctor isn’t allowed to certify you for it, but a non-VA doctor is allowed to certify you for medical marijuana.
It is also important to note that veterans are not allowed to use medical marijuana on VA grounds, as federal law makes it illegal. Even though a facility is located within the state of Maryland or Delaware the property the VA clinic or hospital sits on is federal property. Since medical marijuana is still not federally legal it means you can not use it on federal property.
State of Maryland and Veterans
Here’s the good news about medical marijuana in Maryland, the state is very friendly. Not only does the state of Maryland allow veterans to access medical marijuana, but they also will waive the state’s registration fee for veterans. Typically, the state charges an applicant $50 to process their application to get a medical marijuana ID from the state. However, if you are a qualifying patient who is enrolled in the Veterans Affairs Maryland Health Care System, you are eligible for a waiver of the $50 fee for the patient ID card.
To receive the ID card fee waiver, you must fill out the online patient registration form and provide a U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs ID Card. You do this by uploading a copy of your U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs ID Card during the Maryland medical card application card process with the Maryland Medical Cannabis Commission. The expiration date must be valid and listed on the front of the VA ID card for this process to work.
How Can Medical Marijuana Benefit Veterans?
There are many ways that veterans can benefit from Maryland or Delaware medical marijuana. Unfortunately, many veterans have either experienced a debilitating physical injury or are suffering from conditions such as PTSD or anxiety.
Studies for treating PTSD and anxiety with medical marijuana are bountiful. Studies on the use of medical marijuana have found that cannabis can help alleviate insomnia, nightmares, stress, anxiety, and depression due to the euphoric and uplifting effects of THC. THC and CBD have been linked to decreasing inflammation in the body which reduces chronic pain and spasticity. There are also studies that suggest that medical marijuana has been shown to dull the ‘fight or flight’ impulses and flashbacks that cause hyperarousal in those with PTSD.
How Maryland Or Delaware Veterans Get Certified For Medical Marijuana
The certification process for veterans is like other patients in Maryland or Delaware. The first part of the certification process in Maryland is for the veteran to apply with the Maryland Medical Cannabis Commission (MMCC). This process requires verifying your address and submitting a passport photo for your medical ID card. Once the MMCC reviews your application they will give you a medical ID number. This is the number your medical marijuana doctor will need to certify you.
When you have your medical ID number you bring that with you to your certifying medical marijuana provider. In addition to a medical ID, you will need to bring records to document your qualifying condition. This can include medical records such as a doctor’s note, prescriptions, X-ray readings, study results, or other medical records. Your medical cannabis doctor will use these to certify you. Once you are certified you can access medical marijuana at any dispensary in Maryland.
The process for veterans in Delaware is somewhat different than the process for veterans in Maryland. In Delaware applying for your medical marijuana card is simple: Do it online here or print and mail the completed application. After your doctor authorizes treatment and the State receives the application, it could take two to four weeks for you to receive your card.
Working With Maryland & Delaware Veterans
At Green Relief Health we are proud of the work we are doing with many of Maryland and Delaware’s veterans. One of our primary goals is to offer the best services possible to our veterans. Our medical director takes this very seriously as someone who has cared for patients in the VA system. Our medical marijuana doctors are educated on how medical marijuana can benefit veterans, and our office and medical staff go above and beyond to help veterans obtain records for their exam.
Obtaining records can be one of the most difficult parts of the process for medical certifications for veterans. We will work tirelessly to ensure your medical records process goes as smoothly as possible to ensure you have the access you need.