Despite legalization some veterans won’t get access to medical marijuana

CARLISLE, Pa. (WHTM) – Michael Geib, an Army veteran from Carlisle, showed the handful of pills he takes every day.

The pills are prescribed to Geib through the Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Lebanon so he can deal with pain, diabetes and PTSD.

“I’ve been on so many other types of medications,” he said.

Geib, a former sergeant, spent 10 years in the service including time in the First Gulf War. On Monday though he took some time to play with his 5-year-old granddaughter Antasia.

Geib hopes medical marijuana would ease some of his symptoms and give him more play dates with his granddaughter.

However, because he’s on VA medical coverage it appears there is more suffering ahead.

“I know several veterans through the country that do have it,” Geib said in reference to medical marijuana. “But they have doctors outside the VA that prescribe it.”

In a statement through the veterans affairs office, the Lebanon VA acknowledged they won’t prescribe medical marijuana to patients on VA coverage.

Part of the statement said, “as marijuana use is still a federal offense VA will not provide for use or conduct research with illegal substances regardless of state laws.”.

Geib said he’s concerned he may never have access to drugs that could help his life.

The full statement from the VA is as follows:

“VHA policy does not administratively prohibit Veterans who participate in State marijuana programs from also participating in VHA substance abuse programs, pain control programs, or other clinical programs where the use of marijuana may be considered inconsistent with treatment goals.

As marijuana use is still a federal offense VA will not provide for use or conduct research with illegal substances regardless of state laws. However, patients who participate in a non-VA marijuana program will not be denied access to care for VA clinical programs, but should be assessed for misuse, adverse effects, and withdrawal. While patients participating in State marijuana programs must not be denied VHA services, the decisions to modify treatment plans in those situations need to be made by individual providers in partnership with their patients.”

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