Saginaw VA Director

As a clarification to the article on medical marijuana in the VA, it is important for veteran patients and visitors of the VA medical center in Saginaw and community based outpatient clinics in Alpena, Clare, Gaylord, Oscoda and Traverse City to understand how the new law regarding the use of medical marijuana will be handled by VA medical center police and practitioners.

The legalization of medical marijuana in Michigan is acknowledged. However, pursuant to federal law, VA physicians, nurse practitioners and other licensed clinicians are not authorized or permitted to participate in the recommendation for treatment of or prescribing medical marijuana to a VA patient that would otherwise be legal in Michigan. Furthermore, the VA will not dispense, prescribe or store medical marijuana, and its possession on VA property remains illegal and a criminal offense.

However, it is acknowledged that testing positive for marijuana in a patient, based upon a random drug screening, will not serve as a breach of the current pain management agreement if the patient submits documentation in support of the marijuana being prescribed and dispensed in conformity with Michigan law.

The above withstanding, veteran patients and visitors who are registered users of medical marijuana must follow all laws and regulations for the possession and use of the medical marijuana and shall not bring medical marijuana on the grounds of the VA medical center. Possession on federal grounds remains illegal and may subject the possessor to appropriate criminal charges.

Our priority to provide quality health care to veterans remains steadfast. A veteran's care and the right to pain management continue to be very important in enhancing the veteran's health care outcomes.

Veterans with questions or concerns regarding their participation with medical marijuana may be directed to their primary care provider.

Gabriel Perez
Lutz Veterans Affairs Medical Center