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VA and Medical Marijuana – What Veterans need to know

Several states in the U.S. have approved the use of marijuana (cannabis) for medical and/or recreational use. However, federal law classifies marijuana as a Schedule 1 controlled substance making it illegal in the eyes of the federal government. 

Veterans should know that the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs is required to follow all federal laws regarding marijuana use.

Those Veterans who already participate in state marijuana programs, who are interested in participating, or living where recreational use of marijuana is approved should be aware of the federal rules that VA must follow:

  • Veterans who participate in state-approved medical marijuana programs will not be denied access to VA healthcare.
  • The use or possession of marijuana is prohibited at all VA medical centers, locations and grounds.
  • VA clinicians may not prescribe medical marijuana.
  • VA clinicians may not complete paperwork/forms required for Veteran patients to participate in state-approved marijuana programs.
  • VA pharmacies will not fill prescriptions for medical marijuana.
  • VA will not pay for medical marijuana prescriptions from any source.
  • Veterans are encouraged to discuss marijuana use with their VA providers.
  • VA doctors and clinical teams may advise Veterans who use marijuana of the drug’s impact on other aspects of the Veterans’ care such as pain management, PTSD or substance use disorder treatment.
  • VA doctors and clinical staff will record marijuana use in the Veterans VA medical record along with its impact on the Veterans treatment plan.
  • Veterans who are VA employees are subject to drug testing under the terms of employment.

If you have questions regarding this policy please contact: population.health@va.gov

Emails sent to this address are not secure. Please do not include personal data. To send a secure email, use VA's Ask a Question - IRIS (a secure website contracted to VA).

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