U.S. Senate Committee Votes to Allow VA Doctors to Recommend Medical Cannabis
In a historic vote, the U.S Senate Appropriation Committee has approved an amendment to a federal spending bill that would allow Veteran Affairs (VA) physicians to recommend medical cannabis to their patients in states where the medicine is legal. The vote was 18 to 12.
The Veterans Equal Access Amendment, added to the Military Construction, Veterans Affairs, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, is sponsored by Senators Steve Daines (R-MT) and Jeff Merkley (D-OR). Specifically, it would undo a 2009 directive barring VA doctors from recommending medical cannabis, even in states where its legal.
“A bipartisan coalition of lawmakers came together and passed broadly supported marijuana policy reform”, says Dan Riffle, Director of Federal Policies for the Marijuana Policy Project. “This is exactly how most Americans want Congress to handle this issue. Hopefully we are reaching a point at which it is becoming the norm, rather than the exception. The pace at which support appears to be growing in the Senate is particularly encouraging.”
The bill has been sent to the full Senate for consideration.