Congress Removes Medical Marijuana Protections for Veterans From New Funding Bill

A proposal to allow military veterans to use medical marijuana in states where it is legal was killed by Congress.

In June, the Senate passed a bill to fund the Department of Veterans Affairs that included an amendment that would not allow the VA to punish doctors for recommending medical marijuana. When the House passed their own bill to fund the VA, they did not include the amendment to prevent punishing doctors. However, there was still hope that a committee to create a final bill combining the bills passed by the House and Senate would include the amendment.

However yesterday Congress released the final version of the bill, and the amendment allowing doctors to recommend medical marijuana was removed. 

“Denying veterans the care they need by the doctors they trust is shameful,” Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) told Marijuana Moment. “The Senate passed this amendment. It has broad bipartisan support in the House. This should have been a no brainer. Yet, Republican leadership has once again stymied progress toward fair and equal treatment for our veterans. Their continued neglect of commonsense and the will of the American people is a disgrace.”

Other Democrats agreed with Blumenauer.

“Our veterans put their lives on the line for our country, and many come home dealing with visible and invisible wounds,” Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI) said. “To continue limiting their access to quality healthcare through the VA is a disservice to them and the sacrifices they’ve made.”

So it appears the battle for medical protections for veterans is over for next year. But perhaps if Democrats can retake the House or Senate in the November midterms, these protections will finally become law.

(h/t Marijuana Moment)

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