The GOP just stopped an amendment that would have let VA doctors recommend medical marijuana to military veterans. They didn’t even allow the matter to come to a vote.
The amendment would have been added to the Veterans Affairs and Related Agencies Appropriations bill entitled 2018 Military Construction. However, on Tuesday the House Rules Committee decided Tuesday to prevent the MMJ amendment to come to a full vote, as reported by The Cannabist.
The amendment also would have stopped federal funds being used to interfere with a veteran’s participation in any legal cannabis program in the U.S.
And just what does the House Rules Committee have against a drug that rules so hard, especially when it comes to treating common vet medical problems such as PTSD and chronic pain? It’s hard to say. Lawmakers on both sides of the aisle support the measure. It was supported by a whole mess of folks all over the House.
Republican, Rep. Dan Newhouse (Washington) told Stars and Stripes that he’s “seen firsthand the benefit people can derive from medical marijuana,” and that he believes “if it’s available and it works, we should make that available to our veterans as well.”
Democrats, it goes without saying, are also supportive of the amendment. It’s sponsor, Congressman Earl Blumenauer (D-Oregon), said in a statement, “This provision overwhelmingly passed on the House floor last year – and bipartisan support has only grown. It’s outrageous that the Rules Committee won’t even allow a vote for our veterans. They deserve better. They deserve compassion.”
Blumenauer went on to say, “Given that veterans are more likely to commit suicide or die from opiate overdoses than civilians, our fight to provide them safer alternatives won’t stop here. We have stronger support in the House and Senate than ever before, and we will keep advocating for a more rational approach.”
A similar amendment was taken off the final VA funding bill in 2016, though it had passed in both the House and the Senate.
Dina Titus (D-Nevada), one of the amendment’s co-sponsors promised via Twitter that the amendment “would pass. I’ll keep fighting.”