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An opioid epidemic. High smoking rates. Health care provider shortages. Indiana faces serious public health challenges. Side Effects Public Media provides in-depth coverage of these issues and more.

American Legion Of Indiana Wants Medical Marijuana Legalized To Ease Vet Pain

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Barbara Brosher/Indiana Public Media
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Jeff Staker asks the Veterans' Affairs committee to support his push for legalizing the use of medical marijuana.

The American Legion of Indiana passed a resolution Sunday calling on Congress to recognize marijuana as a drug with medical value and asking Indiana legislatures to develop a medical marijuana program.

Kokomo veteran Jeff Staker originally drafted the resolution. He started the non-profit Hoosier Veterans For Medical Cannabis to push for the change. Staker thinks a medical marijuana program could help veterans suffering from opioid addiction, post-traumatic stress disorder and other medical issues.

“We got veterans dying every 30 minutes of prescription pain overdose,” Staker says. 

The push for legalization comes after the national American Legion passed a resolution last August asking Congress to reschedule marijuana as a drug with medical purposes.

Several bills are on file at the statehouse that propose legalizing medical marijuana or the use of cannabis oil for medical treatment. Similar proposals have failed to gain any traction in previous years.