U.S. House Approves Measure Allowing Veterans Affair Doctors to Recommend Medical Cannabis

The United States House of Representatives today gave approval to an amendment to the Military Construction and Veterans Affairs Appropriations bill that is intended to ease access twelveto medical cannabis for veterans suffering from a variety of medical conditions such as post-traumatic stress disorder. The Senate Appropriations Committee approved a similar amendment to its version of the bill last month.

The amendment, introduced by Representatives Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) and Joe Heck (R-NV), would prohibit the spending of funds on enforcement of a Veterans Health Administration directive that prohibits VA physicians from recommending medical cannabis to their patients, even in states that have made it legal.

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Federal Cannabis Expungement Bill Introduced in U.S. Congress

Marijuana-plant--007Representative Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) has introduced The Clean Slate for Marijuana Offenses Act of 2015, a proposal that creates a pathway for the following two groups of federal cannabis offenders to have their charges expunged (removed) from their criminal record: those who were federally charged for activity that was state legal at the time; and those whose offense was the possession of an ounce or less of cannabis.

“The penalties of failed prohibition policies should stop ruining people’s lives. The Clean Slate for Marijuana Offenses Act of 2015 follows Oregon’s lead to provide a pathway for expunging certain federal marijuana crimes,” said Representative Blumenauer in a press release. “People who were caught up in the federal criminal justice system for a marijuana offense that was legal under state law at the time should not carry around a drug record. I support legalizing marijuana at the federal level to put a stop to any state-federal conflicts once and for all, but it is also important that we create pathways for expungement for those who should never have been charged in the first place.”

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Federal Amendment Announced to Allow Veterans to Use Medical Cannabis

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)medcan 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.”

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Legislation to Reform Tax Laws for Cannabis Businesses Filed in U.S. House and Senate

U.S. Representative Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) and Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR) have introduced the Small Business Tax Equity Actphotocredithuffingtonpost of 2015 in both the House and the Senate. The bill would end unfair taxation issues faced by legal, state-sanctioned cannabis businesses by altering Section 280E of the federal tax code.

“The small businesses that make up the legal cannabis industry are working overtime to be responsible, contributing members of their communities,” said Aaron Smith, executive director of the National Cannabis Industry Association (NCIA). “So it’s particularly outrageous that when they try to do the right thing by paying their federal taxes, they end up penalized with double and triple tax rates.”

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Bipartisan Federal Bill to Reschedule Cannabis Introduced

Representatives cannabisMorgan Griffitth (R-Virginia) and Earl Blumenauer (D-Oregon) filed federal legislation this week that would reschedule cannabis and cannabidiol (CBD).

Specifically, the Compassionate Access Act would “reschedule marijuana from its current position as a Schedule 1 drug under the Controlled Substances Act, which asserts the drug has no medical use and limits the ability of researchers to study the drug’s safety and effectiveness as a treatment”. This would “allow the states to provide appropriate access to patients needing these legitimate, medical treatments under the supervision of their physician”.

According to a press release, the proposal is supported by the Epilepsy Foundation, the American Academy of Neurology, and Americans for Safe Access.

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Federal Bills to Amend IRS Code to Allow Tax Deductions by Cannabis Businesses Announced

Todaymoneycannabis, Representative Earl Blumenauer (D-OR-03) and Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR) announced plans to introduce bicameral legislation next week that would reconcile state cannabis laws and federal tax law. The Small Business Tax Equity Act, which was introduced last Congress by Congressman Blumenauer, would create an exception to Internal Revenue Code Section 280E to allow cannabis businesses operating in compliance with state law to take deductions associated with the sale of marijuana like any other legal business.

“More than two-thirds of Americans now live in jurisdictions that have legalized either the medical or adult use of marijuana. It’s time for the federal government to catch up,” said Congressman Blumenauer in a Thursday press release. “Section 280E creates an unequal and unrealistic tax burden on these businesses. I’m excited to work with Senator Wyden in introducing the Small Business Tax Equity Act, which would bring much needed fairness and level the playing field for small businesses that follow state laws and create jobs.”

Read moreFederal Bills to Amend IRS Code to Allow Tax Deductions by Cannabis Businesses Announced