Earlier this week, the House of Representatives voted down an amendment to an appropriations bill that would have allowed physicians working for the Department of Veterans Affairs to discuss medical marijuana options with patients in states where it is legal.
Rep. John Fleming took to conservative talk radio to voice opposition to the move, appearing on the Family Research Council’s “Washington Watch” yesterday to warn that marijuana will lead to “death and destruction” among military veterans. “We’re creating a vicious cycle that could lead to more suicides, worse depression,” the Louisiana Republican said.
“Why in the world would we want to go out and damage and injure and even create death and destruction to our beloved veterans who have put their lives on the line by giving them marijuana?”
In an interview the same day, Fleming told Ernest Istook, the former GOP congressman and host of “Istook Live,” that “there is not a stitch of evidence to support” claims about the benefits of medical marijuana.
“It’s like adding gasoline to a fire. You would never order for a veteran that they begin drinking alcohol in response to PTSD, you would never tell a veteran they should use heroin as a solution to their depression problems, well that’s what you’re doing by suggesting the use of marijuana,” he said.
Fleming also dismissed concerns about the incarceration rate of people convicted of crimes surrounding marijuana use, alleging that the push to liberalize drug laws drives from financial interests.
“There’s a lot of money to be made,” he said. “Look at the downstream cost to society when you have, as in the case of the VA, all of these veterans who are going to have lung cancer, emphysema, brain damage, heart disease as a result of that so what we’re doing really is putting money in the pockets of some very greedy people out there who are taking advantage of this.”