American Legion wants to legalize medical cannabis to give veterans 'safe alternative to treat pain'

INDIANAPOLIS -- The American Legion of Indiana is vocalizing their support for the legalization of medical cannabis and urging lawmakers to reclassify the drug and recognize its potential medical value.

The American Legion hosted a press conference on Thursday to discuss their decision to support medical cannabis research and share stories from groups that have been affected by it. 

“The American Legion, Department of Indiana understands veterans and their families are facing growing numbers of suicide and death resulting from the lack of safe medical alternative treatment options,” the group said. “The Department of Indiana supports the use of privately funded medical cannabis production operations to enable safe and efficient cannabis drug development research.”

READ | Indiana's prosecuting attorneys do not want marijuana legalized

The group is also asking lawmakers to reclassify cannabis from a Schedule 1 drug to something that recognizes it “as a drug with potential medical value.

"We are losing more people to the opioid epidemic than we are to homicides and suicides combined," said Jeff Staker, founder of Hoosier Veterans for Medical Cannabis. "We need to be saving lives."

Lisa Wilkin, Legislative Director of AMVETS says their group stands "shoulder to shoulder" with the American Legion on the important topic for veterans. 

"We want to make sure that our doctors in Indiana that treat our veterans have every tool available to them in their toolbox," she said. "We have doctors who tell our vets they would be better off using marijuana than the drugs they're able to give them."

READ |  Opioid-related deaths fell 6.5% after recreational marijuana legalized in Colorado

AMVETS currently has a resolution at the state level supporting medical marijuana and Wilkin said they support future research into its medicinal use. 

Watch the whole American Legion press conference below.

Indiana’s 91 prosecuting attorneys recently sent a letter to the Indiana Commission to Combat Drug Abuse asking them to oppose the legalization of marijuana in the state.

Read more on their opposition and the reason for their filing HERE.

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