NORTH PORT, Fla. — Staggered by the burgeoning numbers of veteran suicides, U.S. Rep. Greg Steube said on Wednesday he supports removing marijuana from its wrongly classified Schedule 1 status.
“And I think you’d be surprised by the amount of Republicans that would support it,” said the Sarasota Republican, who added Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell would likely block a descheduling bill. But Steube said a vote would enjoy broad bipartisan support in the House and could come up for a vote this session.
“I think as you’re seeing a younger generation of elected officials — I mean, look at (Florida Gov. Ron) DeSantis and some of the things he’s done — and their positions on those issues are very different.”
Steube’s remarks followed a town hall meeting sponsored by Concerned Veterans of America at the Suncoast Technical College Conference Center. The nation’s suicide epidemic among veterans and active-duty personnel — 20.6 self-inflicted fatalities a day, according to the Department of Veterans Affairs — cast a shadow across the forum, even as many gathered to hear about the latest wrinkles in the Mission Act.
Passed in 2018 to give veterans better access to VA health care, the new regulations will go into effect on June 6. The new law allows patients who’ve been waiting for more than 20 days or who drive more than 30 miles to enter a VA facility to visit a community doctor closer to their residences. The expansion is huge, as it opens new avenues of services to roughly 40 percent of the veteran population. Under current rules, just 8% of veterans have those options.
But solving the suicide epidemic has no easy fix, as Steube told a crowded meeting room. In fact, there’s so much misinformation about what veterans in Florida and other medical marijuana-legal states are liable for with their medical-cannabis prescriptions, the House freshman said he intends to introduce a bill to codify protection for veterans whose urinalyses may test positive for marijuana.
Published at Thu, 30 May 2019 17:23:51 +0000