Medical Marijuana to be Available to Veterans – Amendment by Senate Appropriations Committee

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A recent amendment moved by the Senate Appropriations Committee on Thursday allows Veterans Affairs doctors to have easy access to medical marijuana for legal treatments in states where it is allowed. The amendment discusses and suggests the usage of medical marijuana by Veterans Affairs doctors.

This move is an addition to the fiscal 2017 Military Construction, Related Agencies and Veterans Affairs appropriations bill. The amendment is sponsored by Senator Steve Daines, Senator Jeff Merkley, D-Oregon and R-Montana to allow VA doctors access to medical marijuana as a potential medical treatment option. Note that this move is similar to the allowances given to civilian physicians in medical marijuana states.

This is the second move by the senators to improve accessibility to medical marijuana to veterans who are treated at VA medical facilities. Many of the doctors want to use medical marijuana for treatments, and this move is aimed to make it easier for them to get access to it. Another provision was approved by the full Senate last November in the Fiscal 2016 VA appropriations bill. However, it was later stripped from the final law.

According to the amendment, VA would not be able to use funds to “interfere with the ability of veterans to participate in medicinal marijuana programs approved by states or deny services to such veterans.”

Note that in January this year, around 21 lawmakers wrote to VA Secretary Bob McDonald to allow them to use marijuana for treatment purposes. In addition, a group of almost 19 Democrats and two Republicans wanted to review a policy that restricts physicians from discussing the drug. Note that the drug is still illegal according to the federal law.




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