This week, when the U.S. House of Representatives is expected to consider an appropriations bill related to military construction and Veterans Affairs, Congressman Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) plans to offer an amendment to make it easier for qualified veterans to access medical cannabis. The amendment will be cosponsored by Representatives Tom Reed (R-NY), Sam Farr (D-CA) and Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA).
“While there is no single approach to aiding our nation’s veterans, medical marijuana is proven to help in treating post-traumatic stress and traumatic brain injuries frequently suffered by veterans,” said Congressman Blumenauer in a Monday press release. “States are listening to their residents on the benefits of medical marijuana, including veterans, and are changing their laws. It is unacceptable for our wounded warriors to be forced out of the VA system to simply seek a recommendation on whether or not medical marijuana is a good treatment option. We should not be preventing access to medicine that can help them deal with these injuries to survive and thrive. I encourage my colleagues to show compassion to our veterans and pass this amendment.”
Currently, the Veterans Administration (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 cannabis program. Congressman Blumenauer’s amendment ensures that no funds made available to the VA can be used to implement this prohibition, which would, in effect, strike it down.
A bill filed in February by Representative Blumenauer, the Veterans Equal Access Act, would allow VA physicians to recommend medical cannabis to patients. A separate bill filed earlier this month would reschedule cannabis on the federal level.