U.S. Senate committee approves medical marijuana amendment for veterans
An amendment to an appropriations bill in the U.S. Senate has been approved which would allow doctors with Veterans Affairs to recommend medical marijuana to veterans in states which have medical cannabis programs.
This is the first time the Senate has voted in favor of medical marijuana policy.
The Veterans Equal Access Amendment was sponsored by Republican Senator Steve Daines of Montana and Democratic Senator Jeff Merkley of Oregon. It passed on an 18-12 vote.
The bill, which is now available for Senate consideration, totals $77.6 billion in discretionary funding, $5.5 billion above the fiscal year 2015 level and $1.2 billion below the President’s budget request.
Military construction is funded at more than $8.0 billion, an increase of $1.5 billion over the fiscal year 2015 enacted level. This funding allows for full funding of family housing, military family support services, hospital and health facilities construction, and important overseas investments according to the Senate press release.
A similar amendment narrowly failed in the House earlier this year, submitted by Representative Earl Blumenauer of Oregon.
“This is a historic moment. Passage of the amendment was the right thing to do for our veterans. We should not be preventing access to medicine that can help our wounded warriors deal with serious conditions, such as post-traumatic stress and traumatic brain injuries,” said Representative Blumenauer. “Today’s passage coupled with the narrow defeat of my amendment to the MilCon-VA appropriations bill in the House signals there is real movement and bipartisan support in reforming outdated federal marijuana policies. We are now in a good position to be able to advocate for inclusion of this policy in a final appropriations bill.”
Neither Texas Senator John Cornyn or Ted Cruz is a part of the committee, and therefor did not record a vote on the matter.
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