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On July 22, 2010, the Department of Veterans Affairs released a Veterans Health Administration (VHA) directive  (15 KB) which stated that "VHA policy does not prohibit Veterans who use medical marijuana from participating in VHA substance abuse programs, pain control programs, or other clinical programs..."

Before the directive, veterans could be denied their pain medications if they were using illegal drugs. The department had no written exception for medical marijuana, according to a July 25, 2010 article by Hope Yen titled "Medical Marijuana to Be OK in Some VA Clinics," and published in the Washington Post.

According to the directive, although veterans "participating in state medical marijuana programs must not be denied VHA services," they may not solicit recommendations for medical marijuana from VA doctors. "It is VHA policy to prohibit VA providers from completing forms seeking recommendations or opinions regarding a Veteran's participation in a state medical marijuana program."

[Editor's Note: Medical Marijuana ProCon.org called the Department of Veterans Affairs three times on July 26 and 27, 2010 to obtain information about the department's previous policy on denying pain medication to veterans who used illegal drugs. As of July 29, 2010 we have not yet received a reply.] 

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