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US Senate Approves Funding Bill That Allows Veterans To Access Medical Marijuana


ptsd second amendment military veteran cannabis marijuanaThe Senate today passed the FY2016 Military Construction and Veterans Affairs (MilCon-VA) Appropriations Bill, which includes language to allow Veterans Administration (VA) doctors to recommend medical marijuana to their patients in states where medical marijuana is legal. The language was included as an amendment in the Senate Appropriations committee in May.

“Veterans in medical marijuana states should be treated the same as any other resident, and should be able to discuss marijuana with their doctor,” said Michael Collins, deputy director of national affairs for the Drug Policy Alliance. “It makes no sense that a veteran can’t use medical marijuana if it helps them and it is legal in their state.”

The Veterans Equal Access Amendment was sponsored by Republican Senator Steve Daines of Montana and Democratic Senator Jeff Merkley of Oregon. It passed the Committee 18-12 in a bipartisan vote. The funding bill will now be negotiated with the House’s version as part of an omnibus spending bill.

“On this eve of Veterans/Armistice Day where we remember those who served in the military and the treaty agreement to reach peace concluding WWI, we see this victory as a step toward a peace treaty with the government we volunteered to defend with our lives and as a step toward restoring our first amendment rights and dignity as citizens of the United States, ” said TJ Thompson, a disabled Navy veteran.

Currently, the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) specifically prohibits its medical providers from completing forms brought by their patients seeking recommendations or opinions regarding participation in a state medical marijuana program. The Daines-Merkley amendment authorizes VA physicians and other health care providers to provide recommendations and opinions regarding the use of medical marijuana to veterans who live in medical marijuana states.

In 2002, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed in Conant v. Walters the right of physicians to recommend medical marijuana, regardless of its illegality under federal law, as well as the right of patients to receive accurate information. The Daines-Merkley amendment supports that first amendment right and restores a healthy doctor-patient relationship.

There are numerous federal healthcare programs besides the VA such as Medicaid, Medicare, and CHIP – but only the VA prohibits physicians from discussing and recommending medical marijuana to their patients. A Medicare patient may freely discuss medical marijuana use with her doctor, while a returning veteran is denied the same right.

Studies have shown that medical marijuana can help treat post-traumatic stress and traumatic brain injury, illnesses typically suffered by veterans. A 2014 study of people with PTSD showed a greater than 75% reduction in severity of symptoms when patients were using marijuana to treat their illness, compared to when they were not.

A legislative version of the Daines-Merkley amendment was included in groundbreaking Senate medical marijuana legislation introduced in March. The Compassionate Access, Research Expansion and Respect States (CARERS) Act is the first-ever bill in the U.S. Senate to legalize marijuana for medical use and the most comprehensive medical marijuana bill ever introduced in Congress. The bill was introduced by Senators Cory Booker (D-NJ), Rand Paul (R-KY), and Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) and generated enormous interest.

With the Senate approving one element in the bill, supporters say it is time for the Senate Judiciary Committee to hold hearings on the full bill.

“The politics around marijuana have shifted in recent years, yet Judiciary Chairman Chuck Grassley hasn’t held a hearing on the bill,” said Bill Piper, director of national affairs for the Drug Policy Alliance. “We will move the CARERS Act piece by piece if we have to but now is the time for the Senate to hold a hearing on the bill as a whole.”

Source: Drug Policy Alliancemake a donation


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Johnny Green


  1. I am 100% disabled with ptsd sever to extream in a seconds, the meds for ptsd are fine but try to get in to mental health is ugly it has been 2 years sence my last appointment it is terrible. We moved to Oregon in September and in October I ran out of meds, I tried to get into the va but have a three month wait. I went to the marijuana store got some meds and feel great today and sence October no nightmares every night no anger fits and I don’t think of dieing so much anymore, it works and I am not a zombie any more. This is the best thing that I could have ever done for my self, with the passage of this bill it will make it easer for me to talk to my doctor kinda will feel like he is on my side for a change thank you to congress.for doing something to help

  2. Medical Marijuana is an extremely potent anti-inflammatory that easily crosses the blood-brain barrier. As a result, it shows excellent results in preventing and treating traumatic brain injury. It should be available for use in treating combat injuries, especially the effects of IED’s, not just for treating PTSD.

  3. I will believe it when I get my first prescription filled. Just 4 months ago my pain meds were discontinued cold turkey after 10 years……why? I tested positive for small amount of THC. The Damn withdrawals almost killed me…..VA is Lying….Veterans are Dying.

  4. How could this be? The Government allowing medical cannabis?

    The head of the DEA thinks medical cannabis is a joke. Just potheads gettin high.

    Now a Government run health care system allowing medical cannabis when it is still a schedule 1 with NO medical benefits?????

    Typical tyrannical Government….”You do what we say, PERIOD. Only we can play with pot and we are keeping it at schedule 1 so you can’t play. We can speak out of both sides of our mouths and not be held accountable so ….shut up”.

    The end is near for prohibitches.


  5. It looks pretty straight forward. This will only apply to Veterans who live in states that have a medical marijuana program. This is a huge step though. A long time coming. HR 2029 (Sec. 246) Prohibits funds provided by this bill from being used to: interfere with the ability of veterans to participate in a state-approved medicinal marijuana program, deny services to veterans participating in a program, or interfere with the ability of a VA health care provider care to comply with a program.

  6. No Hoosier Vet should have to leave their family, friends and home to obtain this medication!

  7. Here here. All the training on suicide, dui, responsible drinking, domestic assault, and child neglect could be obsolete. Or at least markedly less necessary.

  8. Hope the house doesn’t mangle this. They most certainly will but hope it passes. Baby steps. Two steps forward one steps back.

  9. Closet Warrior on

    What about the vets in non mmj states-just screw’em? What a shifty attitude towards the very people that defend their lives and liberties. I give you permission to grow your own, smoke it, ear it, he’ll throw it on a bonfire if ya like cus it’s yours, mine and everyone’s right to pursue happiness and painlessness. We salute you guys. Thanks for everything you’ve done or those of you that are still active- we give our thanks as well.

  10. There’s no reason that currently serving members shouldn’t be able to use marijuana, either. They pretend like it’s some evil substance that automatically makes you a super criminal, completely untrustworthy and incapable of doing any sort of thinking or work. “But what if you smoked off duty, then got called to duty? You could be high!” (Because, you know, getting high means you’re like a .16 BAC at least, right? Disregard all studies and anecdotal evidence that show it doesn’t really cause impairment.)

    But alcohol is fine. Strip clubs and bars line the outside of most military bases, and soldiers spend their free time getting drunk. So drunk that they have so many sexual assaults they need mandatory training on it.

    At any point in time, a soldier can get drug tested for something they may have used in their 2 weeks leave away from any military responsibility. Their military career will likely be ruined. If they aren’t kicked out, they’ll be demoted, punished, then discriminated against for the rest of their career. But if they were to, say, show up for duty 3 hours late still drunk, they’ll likely lose 1 rank which they’ll re-earn in 6 months.

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