Two bills that would change federal policy regarding the medicinal use of cannabis by military veterans were approved by the House Veterans Affairs Committee on Thursday, a move that sets the stage for a potential floor vote on the measures by the full House.
The first bill, known as the Veterans Equal Access Act of 2019 (HR 1647), would permit doctors at Veterans Administration health care facilities to issue recommendations for state-legal medical cannabis. Under current regulations, VA doctors are not allowed to complete the paperwork necessary for military veterans to use medical marijuana in states that have legalized the medicinal use of cannabis. Democratic Rep. Earl Blumenauer of Oregon, who introduced the bill and similar legislation in the past, applauded the move by the committee.
“Today was a monumental day for our veterans. We have been working for years to reform this counterproductive policy that forces veterans outside of the VA to receive legal medical cannabis treatment for chronic pain and PTSD,” Blumenauer said. “This is the culmination of the tremendous work of our movement, but we will not be finished until this becomes the law of the land. We must reform our federal cannabis policy.”
Last year, Blumenauer