Published: Jul 24, 2010 8:29 PM EDT
Updated: Jul 24, 2010 5:29 PM EDT

WASHINGTON (AP) - The government says patients treated at Veterans Affairs hospitals and clinics will be able to use medical marijuana in the 14 states where it's legal.

The directive from the Department of Veterans Affairs is coming out in the week ahead. It's intended to clarify current policy that says veterans can be denied pain medications if they use illegal drugs.
Veterans groups long have complained that such language could bar patients from VA benefits if they were caught using medical marijuana.
The new guidance does not authorize VA doctors to begin prescribing medical marijuana, which is considered an illegal drug under federal law.