Republican lawmakers, who crow endlessly about their love and respect for the troops, have blocked a vote on a bill that would have allowed Veterans Affairs (VA) doctors to recommend medical marijuana as a pain treatment in states where it’s legal.
The House Rules Committee stopped a proposed “Veterans Equal Access” amendment from moving to debate on the House floor by keeping the measure out of the House’s proposed VA funding bill for next year.
This, after the Senate Appropriations Committee approved a veterans’ medical cannabis provision earlier this month by a vote of 24 to seven.
The sponsor of the House provision, Rep. Earl Blumenauer, Democrat from Oregon, said he was “bitterly disappointed” that his amendment was sidelined.
“This is a subject that has gained a great deal more attention and momentum,” Blumenauer told McClatchy News. “More people recognize that the VA has really failed our veterans when it has come to pain management, opioids and opioid dependency.”
He noted that the amendment had bipartisan support of nine Democrats and nine Republicans.
“But somehow the [13 member] House Rules Committee decided it wasn’t going to allow this amendment,” he said.
Blumenauer, founder of the Congressional Cannabis Caucus, has led the effort to eliminate the VA policy prohibiting doctors nationwide from discussing marijuana with their patients.
“We would be far better off if our veterans had access to medical marijuana and less reliance on opioids, which is literally killing them,” reported Stars and Stripes. “Under this amendment, marijuana would not be dispensed by the VA or consumed on federal property—it simply ends the current gag rule that says doctors can’t talk to their patients about it, even if they think it’s appropriate.”
The rejection comes at the same time when more veterans than ever are rallying behind medical marijuana as a potential treatment for service-connected health problems and as an alternative to opioids.
Twenty-two American vets commit suicide each day—most suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), according to data from the Department of Veterans Affairs.
In an effort to provide alternatives for veterans suffering from PTSD, the American Legion decided last August that it would advocate to remove marijuana from the list of Schedule I drugs.
The organization said that while it was “not asking for it to be legalized,” there had been “overwhelming evidence that it has been beneficial for some vets.”
In May, VA Secretary David Shulkin said at the White House that he was open to learning from any evidence that marijuana could be used as treatment, per Stars and Stripes.
Reclassifying marijuana would remove barriers to scientific research and the large body of already existing evidence of its medical effectiveness would become readily available for those who care to assess and build on it.
Oklahoma Students May Now Use Medical Marijuana in Schools, But School Staff May Not
Former President of the Philippines Reveals She Uses Medical Marijuana
Mass. Court Ruling: Police Can Arrest for Drugged Driving Based on Observations
High-Level Coalition Launches Campaign Supporting Legalization in Minnesota
Laws6 days ago
Vermont Supreme Court Rules Marijuana Smell is Not Grounds for Search
Health4 days ago
Medical Marijuana Recalled From Two Michigan Dispensaries Due to Failed Lab Tests
News6 days ago
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Brings Former Marijuana Policy Project Director to Her Staff
People5 days ago
Antonio Bascaro: Father. War Hero. Longest Living Pot Prisoner
Legalization5 days ago
Rep. Earl Blumenauer Introduces Bill to Regulate Cannabis Like Alcohol
News7 days ago
Canadian Cannabis Industry Execs Warn Weed Shortage Could Last Three Years
News6 days ago
Report: Illicit Pot is Almost 50 Percent Cheaper Than That Bought Legally in Canada
Medical Marijuana4 days ago
NJ Doctor Suspended for Recommending Medical Marijuana to Thousands of Patients