Today, Representative Earl Blumenauer (OR-03) welcomed passage of the Veterans Equal Access Amendment by the Senate Appropriations Committee. The amendment, offered by Senator Steve Daines (R-MT) and Senator Jeff Merkley (D-OR), would allow the Veterans Administration (VA) medical providers to recommend medical marijuana to veterans living in states where medical marijuana is legal.
“This is a historic moment. Passage of the amendment was the right thing to do for our veterans. We should not be preventing access to medicine that can help our wounded warriors deal with serious conditions, such as post-traumatic stress and traumatic brain injuries,” said Representative Blumenauer. “Today’s passage coupled with the narrow defeat of my amendment to the MilCon-VA appropriations bill in the House signals there is real movement and bipartisan support in reforming outdated federal marijuana policies. We are now in a good position to be able to advocate for inclusion of this policy in a final appropriations bill.”
Currently, the VA specifically prohibits its medical providers from completing forms brought by their patients seeking recommendations or opinions regarding a Veteran’s participation in a state medical marijuana program.
Representative Blumenauer recently offered an amendment to the FY 2016 Military Construction, Veterans Affairs and Related Agencies Appropriations bill that would have ensured no funds made available to the VA could be used to implement this prohibition, which would have, in effect, struck it down. The amendment had broad bipartisan support, but ultimately fell short three votes at 210-213. In February, Representative Blumenauer also introduced H.R. 667, Veterans Equal Access Act, to address this important issue.
Source: Earl Blumenauer press release