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Some VA Hospitals to Get OK for Medical Marijuana

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Pending new federal guidelines will permit the use of medical marijuana for patients at Veterans Affairs hospitals and clinics in the 14 states where medical marijuana is legal, according to news reports.

The Veterans Affairs Department will issue a directive shortly that's intended to clarify the existing policy that says veterans can be denied pain medication if they use illegal drugs. Veterans groups have long complained this could prevent veterans from VA benefits if they were caught using medical marijuana, the Associated Press reported.

The new directive won't alllow VA doctors to prescribe medical marijuana, which is considered an illegal drug under federal law. But it will make it clear that in the 14 states where state and federal laws are in conflict, VA clinics will permit the use of medical marijuana for veterans already taking it under other clinicians, the AP said.

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