House Committee Approves Medical Cannabis for Veterans

Two bills aiming to improve veterans’ access to medical cannabis have passed through the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee this week.

Full story after the jump.

The House Veterans’ Affairs Committee has advanced two separate pieces of legislation that address veterans’ access to medical cannabis, Marijuana Moment reports.

The Veterans Equal Access Act, a proposal put forward by Oregon Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D), would let VA doctors make medical cannabis treatment recommendations in states where medical cannabis access is legal. The VA Medical Cannabis Research Act, proposed by California Rep. Lou Correa (D), would require the VA to investigate the effectiveness of medical cannabis in treating PTSD and other afflictions commonly faced by combat veterans.

The veterans access proposal was advanced on a 15-11 vote, while the research bill was approved in a voice vote.

“Today was a monumental day for our veterans. We have been working for years to reform this counterproductive policy that forces veterans outside of the VA to receive legal medical cannabis treatment for chronic pain and PTSD. This is the culmination of the tremendous work of our movement, but we will not be finished until this becomes the law of the land. We must reform our federal cannabis policy.” — Rep. Earl Blumenauer, in the report

Rep. Correa, meanwhile, said that cannabis could be a long-sought alternative to opioids and other dangerously addictive prescription medications.

“Many studies from around the world show cannabis’s effectiveness for treating PTSD and chronic pain,” Correa said. “It’s time we did the research and got our vets the medications they need. We owe it to every veteran to never stop looking for ways to treat their scars.”

The bills’ appearance in the committee represented the first markup of federal cannabis legislation in 2020. Similar proposals were discussed and scheduled for a vote last year, but those votes were ultimately called off.

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