Representative Seth Moulton of Massachusetts, a former Marine Corps officer, re-filed a package of bills in Congress Monday that would push the Department of Veterans Affairs to embrace medical marijuana.
But Moulton, a Democrat who is running for president, also said in an interview that he supports much more significant changes to federal drug policy — declaring that anyone in the United States jailed solely for marijuana possession should be freed with a clear record, that the country should consider decriminalizing the use of hard drugs while cracking down on producers, and that so-called safe consumption sites should be legal.
“An African-American in Louisiana sells $25 of marijuana and gets put in prison for life, whereas Paul Manafort is selling the USA and gets seven years?” Moulton scoffed, referring to the former Trump campaign manager. “It’s ridiculous. Not only should those people be freed, but their records should be expunged. The justice system has just been so backward on this for so long.”
The bills filed Monday by Moulton, which are co-sponsored by Republican Representative Matt Gaetz of Florida and were originally introduced last fall, would make several changes to the VA’s stance on cannabis.
One would enshrine in law a policy that protects the benefits of veterans who tell their VA doctors that they use cannabis. If passed, VA doctors could incorporate marijuana into veterans’ treatment plans, while VA facilities would feature prominent signs explaining that patients cannot be penalized for consuming the drug.
Veterans would still have to seek out non-VA doctors to obtain recommendations allowing them to buy cannabis at state-regulated dispensaries, since marijuana remains illegal under federal law. But Moulton’s office has said the bill would end confusion over the VA’s policy on the drug and ensure that the agency does not reverse its stance. Read more