July 13, 2017
The United States Senate Appropriations Committee has approved an amendment that allows Veterans Affairs (VA) physicians to recommend medical marijuana to veterans in states where the medicine has been legalized.
The amendment was approved with a bipartisan 24 to 7 vote (with even a majority of Republicans voting in favor, 9 to 7); it’s attached to a larger spending bill that funds the VA. The amendment allows VA doctors to recommend medical cannabis to patients in states where its legal, changing current policy which prohibits “V.A. providers from completing forms seeking recommendations or opinions regarding a Veteran’s participation in a State marijuana program.”
Last year a similar amendment was passed by a 20 to 10 vote, following by a 233 to 189 vote in the House. However, the amendment was eventually removed from the larger bill it was attached to before becoming law.
According to Senator Steve Daines (R-MT), who introduced the amendment, it simply “allows the V.A. patients in states with medical marijuana programs to discuss that option with their V.A. doctor of physician”, something that is currently not allowed.