Public Affairs Office Fort Wainwright

Congressional leaders have blocked medical marijuana reform efforts from both the House and Senate that would have opened the door for Veterans Affairs doctors to recommend medical cannabis to veterans in states where it has been legalized,‘s Tom Angell reports.

In strong bipartisan votes last month, the legislatures each approved measures to the 2017 Military Construction and Veterans Affairs bill that would have blocked the VA from using funds to enforce policies preventing its doctors from recommending medical marijuana to their patients.

It had appeared that, with bipartisan approval from both chambers of the Congress, the protections would be secure for the bill’s final version. However, new bills are not complete until the differences between the House and Senate are reconciled into a final version of the bill by a conference committee made up of lawmakers from each chamber. Ultimately, neither set of marijuana protections were included in the conference committee’s final version of the bill.

The spending package was assembled late last night, and at 3:10 a.m. the House of Representatives voted 239-171 for its approval. The bill now returns to the Senate for a final vote before continuing on to President Obama.

It has been shown that medical cannabis could be an effective treatment for individuals suffering from PTSD, a potentially debilitating condition that is commonly faced by combat veterans.

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