Marijuana policy stays the same despite Colo. law at VA Medical Center

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GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. While Colorado pot shops opened their doors to recreational pot smokers for the second day Thursday, the Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Grand Junction is sticking with its national policy that has been in place for two years.

It is up to the individual doctors to decide if they want to change treatment for their patients if they come up positive for the drug while using narcotics or pain medication that could interact negatively.

This has been the local VA Medical Center's policy even before the national rule was rolled out.

"It was between the individual provider and the patient as to what was appropriate and if they disagreed, the patient was free to request a new provider," said Paul Sweeney, public information officer for Grand Junction's VA Medical Center.

Kevin Riddle did decide to switch doctors after one didn't want him to mix his pain medications with medical marijuana, which he was using at the time to help his post traumatic stress disorder symptoms.

"I ended up switching doctors and really because I had had my medical card it wasn't really an issue," Riddle said. "I don't know why it became an issue with this particular doctor, but I guess to each their own."

VA doctors cannot prescribe medical marijuana because they are federal employees.

Also, visitors cannot bring the drug on the premises because it is federal ground. Any marijuana will be confiscated and destroyed if found.

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