The proposal was an amendment to the Veteran Affairs department funding bill for next year, called the “Veterans Equal Access” amendment. Republicans on the House Rules Committee removed the amendment before it could even be voted on by the full House.
VA doctors are not allowed to prescribe medical marijuana, even in states where its part of the law, since the drug is illegal under federal law. Veterans can still buy medical cannabis products, but must pay for it out of their own pockets.
Democratic congressman Earl Blumenaur, who sponsored the amendment, defended it by saying, “This is a subject that has gained a great deal more attention and momentum. More people recognize that the VA has really failed our veterans when it has come to pain management, opioids and opioid dependency.”
However, there is still some hope for veterans seeking medical marijuana. There’s currently a bill under consideration in the Senate that would allow veterans access to cannabis through the VA where its legal. And perhaps more importantly, the bill was proposed by a Republican senator, possibly indicating there could be bipartisan support.
Of course, the Trump administration has taken a hardline on marijuana, so even if these bills hurdle legislative obstacles, there’s still doubt they could come into existence.