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House Republicans Block Veterans Equal Access and Hemp Water Rights Budget Amendments

According to a report from MassRoots, The House Rules Committee is blocking two cannabis-related budget amendments from floor consideration, ruling the amendments are not in order. The affected amendments include the Veterans Equal Access Amendment, which would allow military veterans to access state-approved medical cannabis programs, and the Industrial Hemp Water Rights Act, which would allow hemp cultivators to use federally-controlled water.

Congressman Dan Newhouse, a Washington Republican and member of the Rules Committee, broke from his colleagues on the equal rights amendment, saying he’s seen “firsthand the benefit that people can derive from medical marijuana.”

“We’re not just talking smoking joints here. There’s a lot of different derivatives that can be used that help people alleviate pain,” he reportedly told the committee. “It seems to me that if that’s available and it works we should make it available to our veterans as well, as long as it’s in accordance with state law.”

The veteran’s access amendment could be revived via a conference committee which merges the House and Senate budget proposals into one bill. The amendment had received bipartisan support in the Senate and garnered more co-sponsors than any other amendment filed before the committee.

“All we want is equal treatment for our wounded warriors,” said Congressman Earl Blumenauer in a statement. “This provision overwhelmingly passed on the House floor last year – and bipartisan support has only grown. It’s outrageous that the Rules Committee won’t even allow a vote for our veterans. They deserve better. They deserve compassion.”

Last year, federal lawmakers blocked amendments that would have allowed legal cannabis businesses to access banking services and permit Washington D.C. to spend its own money to implement a taxed and regulated cannabis market.

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