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Send a letter: SUPPORT Bipartisan Legislation to Repeal Federal Marijuana Prohibition! #healthcare #wellness


Hey there Superpeeps!

As you know, I am a physician who cares a great deal about chronic pain and mental illness. I wrote a letter for the Action Network letter campaign, and I hope you will, too. I’ve become convinced that marijuana is a safer agent that may help reduce the horrific opioid epidemic. Why?

Well, because opioids upregulate receptors that you and I use for breathing and digestion, they can pretty easily KILL you by repressing your breathing, or at the very least, make you very uncomfortable by shutting down your gut and causing constipation. More commonly, they can actually make chronic pain WORSE by sensitizing the body, since your body gets so used to those receptors being blocked that it makes MORE receptors to compensate (so you then feel MORE pain, and need MORE opioid).

In comparison, marijuana works in different areas of the nervous system, so it doesn’t make you create more pain receptors, nor does it target your breathing and digestion, and while also addictive, it’s overall a much safer medication. If legalized, marijuana could be regulated to teach patients effective use. It is extremely difficult to die from marijuana overdose in comparison to how easy it is to overdose on opioids. As a former member of the military, I fully acknowledge the benefits that marijuana has for veterans, and truly believe that we can decrease the burden of unemployed and ill veterans on society as a whole by legalizing and regulating marijuana.

(I believe so strongly in this that I personally DO NOT prescribe opioids to chronic pain patients, and instead I will be pursuing a medical marijuana license in Virginia when I am able. If this is something you are in need of, I would be glad to evaluate you. I will update you on healthcare.byjenfinelli.com when this is available.)

So I was pretty excited when I heard from NORML that Republican Representative Nancy Mace (R-SC) and multiple cosponsors had introduced the States Reform Act — “a comprehensive bill that repeals the federal prohibition of marijuana, expunges federal non-violent marijuana crimes, promotes local ownership in the emerging regulated industry, and places certain restrictions on the advertising of regulated cannabis products, among other federal reforms. Separate legislation to narrowly amend federal marijuana laws has been previously offered,” says NORML, “but the States Reform Act marks the first Republican-led effort in Congress to provide expansive relief to those who have suffered under the penalties of prohibition. The bill does so by releasing those who are currently incarcerated for federal non-violent marijuana crimes and by providing criminal record relief to those who have been formerly convicted of marijuana-specific violations.”

I wrote a letter in support of the act when I first heard of it, and in support of the MORE act (Update 2022: This was an act that passed the House of Reps TWICE to decriminalize marijuana. Did not pass the Senate.) I’ve since been asking YOU to join me and write to reps, too.

This is stronger action than social media noise because it directly engages the legislative system, essentially reminding representatives that the constituency that pays their salary – not some randos in some other state – are paying attention.

UPDATE 5/4/23:

I just got this email from NORML about another important marijuana act that you should know about:

Last week, all but eight Republican Senators voted against moving forward with the VA Medicinal Cannabis Research Act, which requires the Department of Veterans Affairs to study the potential benefits of medical cannabis for veterans for conditions such as PTSD.


At least one of those lawmakers represents you in the Senate. Are you going to let them get away with it?


This modest, bipartisan legislation was approved by the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee in February, and bipartisan companion legislation is awaiting a hearing in the House of Representatives. Yet most Republican Senators opposed bringing it to a full floor vote, further delaying passage of a bill that will provide vital information to help our service members find relief from a variety of medical conditions.


The VA Medicinal Cannabis Research Act is not dead yet! Please contact your Senators today and urge them to reconsider their position on this bill, and to also support the Veterans Medical Marijuana Safe Harbor Act, which would increase access to medical cannabis for veterans and protect them from discrimination for lawful cannabis use.


I highly recommend you check out NORML, and do what they say, haha. This was the letter they had me send to my reps (I amended it a bit to add the stuff about being a physician):

“Hello there.

As a physician and as your constituent, I am writing to express my frustration and disappointment with your decision to vote against moving forward with legislation to facilitate research on the potential benefits of medical marijuana for veterans – the VA Medicinal Cannabis Research Act.

Even the quickest search on pubmed.gov, where a lot of modern medical research into veteran care is housed, will reveal an overwhelming number of pre-existing studies supporting the need for further medicinal cannabis research.

Our service members are increasingly turning to medical marijuana to effectively treat a wide variety of conditions, including PTSD and chronic pain, as an alternative to opioids and other dangerous and highly addictive pharmaceutical drugs. The American Legion and numerous other veteran advocacy groups overwhelmingly support additional research and improved access to medical marijuana without having to go outside the VA for treatment and medical advice, without fear of discrimination or loss of benefits and opportunities.

If you truly care about those who have honorably and selflessly served our country, you will listen to veterans and stop standing in the way of necessary legislation that will improve their lives and those of their families and loved ones.

I urge you to reconsider your decision to block the VA Medicinal Cannabis Research Act from receiving a vote on the floor of the Senate, and respectfully request that you also support and cosponsor the Veterans Medical Marijuana Safe Harbor Act in order to remove barriers that are preventing veterans in states where medical marijuana is legal from being able to utilize the treatments that works best for them.

Thank you,
Jen (Finelli) Veldhuyzen, MD, SAMFE, FAWM”

You’re welcome to take a page out of my book or theirs, and join us in making a difference for vets. And finally, you can also start thinking about going beyond activism and into your own superhero journey here.