The Senate Appropriations Committee voted on Wednesday in favor of an amendment that would let doctors with the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) recommend cannabis treatments for veterans in states with medical cannabis programs, Marijuana Moment reports. The legislation would also prohibit VA officials from interfering with or otherwise punishing veterans who choose to access medical cannabis programs.
The amendment passed the key Senate Committee on a voice vote and is now attached to a bill to fund the VA through Fiscal Year 2022.
“We have now 36 states that have medical cannabis, and our veterans want to know from their VA doctor what their thoughts are on the pros and cons or appropriate role or challenges of this particular strategy for treating a variety of issues, including PTSD. I think it’s really important that we not force our veterans to be unable to discuss this issue with their doctors.” — Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-OR), who sponsored the amendment, via Marijuana Moment
A similar amendment was approved by the full Senate in 2018 but that language was ultimately dropped from the bill due to staunch Republican opposition in the House Appropriations Committee.
Earlier this year in March, two pro-medical cannabis bills passed through the House Veterans Affairs Committee. One of the bills would let VA doctors make medical cannabis recommendations in states where it has been legalized and the other would call for investigating the effectiveness of cannabis as a treatment for PTSD and other common afflictions faced by combat veterans—neither bill, however, has been fully approved.
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