The VA Is Cracking Down on Vets Who Work in Weed
Although the US Department of Veterans Affairs allows military vets to use medical cannabis in weed-legal states, the agency has been much less forgiving when soldiers work in the pot industry.
Published on June 3, 2019

The VA may be lightening up when it comes to veteran marijuana patients lighting up, but not when it comes to former soldiers working in the legal cannabis industry. 

On Monday, the Boston Globe reported on an anonymous US veteran, 35, living in Revere, Massachusetts. The veteran currently resides in a cramped apartment with his wife and two kids, with a third child arriving soon.

Like many veterans, he applied for a low-interest home loan through the VA. But in January, the VA declined his application because he worked as an assistant manager at a local marijuana dispensary.

“I was actually accomplishing a lifelong goal of mine, and then to have it pulled right out from under you at the 11th hour... I was blown away,” the veteran, who requested anonymity to avoid any further conflicts with the VA, told the Boston Globe. “It was very frustrating and demoralizing.”

The Revere veteran isn’t the first to feel the military’s anti-cannabis wrath, either. In April, Army Major Tye Reedy was ‘stripped’ of his duties at West Point, where he worked as a recruiter for the US military, Barrons reported. The US Department of Defense terminated Reedy’s appointment after it learned he joined former Republican House Speaker John Boehner on the board of Acreage Holdings, a marijuana investment firm.

The Judge Advocate General’s office at West Point wrote to Reedy that he “bring[s] discredit upon the US Military Academy and the Army. A military officer working in the cannabis industry runs contrary to Army values.”

Reedy’s time at West Point would’ve contributed to his 11 years of service as an active duty combat soldier, where he completed two tours in Iraq and a third in Afghanistan. Had he successfully served out a full 20-year service period, he would have qualified for a retirement pension. On average, US Army Majors make half-pay on pension, or roughly $3,900 a month.

Neither West Point nor the US Army tested Reedy for marijuana use. His membership on the Acreage Holdings board was enough to terminate his recruitment role.

Currently, the US Congress is considering a federal bill that would grant all US veterans access to medical cannabis in places where it’s legal. That said, there’s no word yet on when the US military will stop guarding illegal opium fields in Afghanistan.

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Randy Robinson
Based in Denver, Randy studied cannabinoid science while getting a degree in molecular biology at the University of Colorado. When not writing about cannabis, science, politics, or LGBT issues, they can be found exploring nature somewhere in the Rocky Mountains. Catch Randy on Twitter and Instagram @randieseljay
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