Medical marijuana is now legal in 37 states and the District of Columbia and legal for recreational use in 18 states. (It is legal for medical use in Iowa but is severely limited. In Nebraska, as of the time this article was written, the Unicameral is considering a bill to legalize marijuana for medical use, but only under very restrictive conditions.) However, federal law still classifies marijuana as a Schedule One Controlled substance. This makes it illegal in the eyes of the federal government and the VA is required to follow all federal laws.

Despite these facts, the VA says veterans will not lose or be denied disability benefits for marijuana use. Furthermore, the VA says “[v]eterans are encouraged to discuss marijuana use with their VA [health care] providers. VA health care providers will record marijuana use in the Veteran's VA medical record in order to have the information available in treatment planning. As with all clinical information, this is part of the confidential medical record and protected under patient privacy and confidentiality laws and regulations."

The use or possession of marijuana is prohibited at all VA medical centers, locations and grounds. When you are on VA grounds it is federal law that is in force, not the laws of the state.”

Sean D. Cuddigan
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SSA and VA Disability Attorney in Omaha, Nebraska
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