By Evan Halper and Lauren Rosenblatt
The Trump administration’s attack on legal marijuana, already stymied by large states determined not to roll back the clock, is increasingly confronting an even more politically potent adversary: military veterans.
Frustrated by federal laws restricting their access to a drug many already rely on to help treat post-traumatic stress disorder, chronic pain and opioid addiction, veterans have become an influential lobbying force in the marijuana debate after sitting on the sidelines for years.
The 2 million-member American Legion this spring got involved in a big way by launching a campaign to reduce marijuana restrictions, which it says hurt veterans and may aggravate a suicide epidemic.
The move reflects the changing politics of marijuana, and of a conservative, century-old veterans service organization facing new challenges as its membership grows with those who served in Iraq and Afghanistan.
“We were hearing these compelling stories from veterans about how cannabis has made