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Veterans can't access medical marijuana through VA | News

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Veterans can't access medical marijuana through VA

LAS VEGAS -- Medical marijuana dispensaries may become a legal reality within the valley soon; however, one group in southern Nevada won't get any help obtaining medical cannabis.

All of the doctors within the Veteran Affairs system said they will not supply or prescribe marijuana because federal laws still classify it as an illegal substance. Over a year ago Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder became a qualifying condition for medical marijuana in Nevada, but combat veterans who qualify can't go through their normal healthcare providers to get it.

“I feel very on edge, always very tense, I can't seem to take anything easily,” Marvin Carter, veteran of Marine Corps said.

Carter said he's felt this way ever since his plane crashed in North Africa. He was headed to the continent to conduct a covert mission.

Carter said his condition has even affected the way he eats at restaurants.

“When I'm in a restaurant and someone drops a piece of silverware I jump; I physically drop, and friends notice and ask ‘are you okay,'” Carter said.

The retired Marine has PTSD, which is defined as a mental health issue triggered by a terrifying event.

Carter says the worst part is not being able to sleep more than two hours a night. He said he has flashbacks and nightmares about some of the things he's seen and participated in.

Carter said one of the only times he's ever had a full night of sleep was when he tried medical marijuana.

“I was able to get a good eight hours of sleep; it felt so good, almost like winning the lottery,” Carter said.

However, according to the retired soldier, when he brings up the treatment he's found the VA doctors refuse to listen to him. He said they told him that their job and career would be jeopardized even if they just discussed it.

Carter is aware that he could still legally obtain a medical marijuana card and access the treatment on his own once dispensaries open up around the valley, but he said that will be hard for him because the only income he gets right now is disability and social security.

Carter said he will just have to keep getting by the best he can until he can legally access the medicine of his choice through Veterans Affairs.

A southern Nevada VA spokesperson said there are a variety of options for post traumatic stress offered at the VA, but under current federal laws medical marijuana isn't one of them.