Two medical cannabis bills aimed at military veterans are scheduled for votes in congress Thursday
The legislation is focused on ease of legal access to medical cannabis under state laws and increasing research into it's effects. A year ago the panel held a hearing on these and other cannabis bills, though the vote was later cancelled.
Titled the Veterans Equal Access Act and the VA Medical Cannabis Research Act, this is the first bill introduced by Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) that would allow doctors to issue medical marijuana perscriptions to patients in states where it is legal.
“Now that veterans are finally being given their day, it’s critically important that the committee and the full House expeditiously pass the bill,” Justin Strekal, political director of NORML, told Marijuana Moment. “Veterans must no longer be discriminated against in states where medical cannabis is a legal alternative.”
The House and Senate have approved spending bills that contain riders blocking VA from punishing doctors for writing medical cannabis recommendations.
The other bill from Rep. Lou Correa (D-CA) would require VA to conduct clinical trials on the capability of marijuana to treat conditions like post-traumatic stress disorder and chronic pain.
“I am very happy to learn that my bill—the VA Medicinal Cannabis Research Act—will have its day before the House Veterans Affairs Committee,” Correa told Marijuana Moment. “Our nation’s veterans are calling out for alternatives to opioids. Cannabis has the potential to be that alternative.”
“My bill puts our veterans first by ensuring the Department of Veterans Affairs takes cannabis seriously and conducts vital medical research into its effectiveness in treating PTSD and chronic pain,” he said. “Our veterans are depending on us. We owe it to every veteran to never stop looking for ways to treat their scars.”
Thank you @RepMarkTakano & @VetAffairsDems for taking up my VA Medicinal Cannabis Research Act.
Cannabis has the potential to be a lifesaving alternative to addictive & dangerous opioids.
We owe it to our vets to never stop looking for better ways to treat their scars.
Correa and fellow lead sponsor Rep. Clay Higgins (R-LA) sent a letter earlier this year urging colleagues to support the bill as cosponsors. 104 members have signed—about one-fourth of the full House.