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Congress denies medical marijuana to veterans by 3 votes

An amendment introduced to a Veteran’s Affairs appropriations bill in congress to allow doctors to recommend medical marijuana to veterans was defeated by three votes.

Democratic Rep. Earl Blumenauer of Oregon proposed an amendment to the Military Construction and Veterans Affairs Appropriations bill to stop the Department of Veterans Affairs from spending any funds on prohibiting doctors from recommending medical cannabis, which has shown promise in treating Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.

The amendment failed by a vote of 213-210, with 35 Republicans and 175 Democrats voting in favor. 205 Republicans and 8 Democrats voted against the amendment.

Of the representatives from Texas, 9, all Democrats, voted in favor of the amendment, while 26 voted against. One did not vote.

Texas Marijuana Policy Advocacy Workshops — January 2018
Texas Marijuana Policy Advocacy Workshops — January 2018

In February, Congressman Blumenauer also introduced H.R. 667, Veterans Equal Access Act, to address this important issue. The bill is cosponsored by Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA), Walter Jones (R-NC), Justin Amash (R-MI), Tom Reed (R-NY), Richard Hanna (R-NY), Sam Farr (D-CA), Jared Polis (D-CO) and Dina Titus (D-NV).

“The Veterans Equal Access amendment will allow for an open line of communication between a veteran and her or his Department of VA care providers in states that have decided to legalize medical cannabis,” said U.S. Navy Veteran T.J. Thompson. “This is a major first step in allowing veterans equal access to medical cannabis through reestablishing that First Amendment right of freedom of speech between a patient and care provider, a right which has been violated by a major gap in policy and law on the federal level with disabled veterans. With the legalization of medical cannabis, statistics have shown suicide and addiction rates decrease, which are both major plagues among veterans.”

Almost 30 percent of veterans suffer from either PTSD or depression, according to a VA report from 2012.

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Stephen Carter

Stephen Carter is a journalist and information technology specialist living in Waco, Texas. He has been working with the cannabis movement since 2009. He founded Texas Cannabis Report in 2013 to bring Texans accurate cannabis related news.

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