In support of veterans access to medical marijuana bill passes in House Committee which is good for vets. The House Veterans’ Affairs Committee made history on Tuesday when it passed legislation that would help military families get access to medical marijuana. The omnibus bill, which received bipartisan support, will now go up for a vote on the House floor, making it the first time Congress members will actually vote on marijuana legislation.
According to the Military Times, the measure “will increase veterans’ access to private-sector doctors, expand caregiver stipends to more former military families and increase medical marijuana research for veterans care.” The bill is expected to pass before Memorial Day.
The historic vote comes at a time when the Veterans Administration is buried in controversy and lacking leadership. In March, President Donald Trump tweeted the firing of VA Secretary David Shulkin (yes, he fired him via Twitter). In April. Trump’s nominee to replace Shulkin was Rear Adm. Ronny Jackson, the White House physician. That selection was roundly criticized and Jackson withdrew his nomination in a cloud of controversy. There have been seven VA chiefs in four years (including interim assignments).
Related Story: Congress Presses VA To Begin Researching Medical Marijuana
News of the committee vote was originally reported by Tom Angell of the Marijuana Moment. According to Angell’s report:
Though the current proposal is fairly limited in scope — it would encourage the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs to conduct research on marijuana’s medical benefits — it comes at a time of unprecedented bipartisan support for cannabis reform and likely signals more action to come on Capitol Hill.
Filed by Veterans’ Affairs Committee GOP Chairman Phil Roe of Tennessee and Congressman Tim Walz of Minnesota, the top Democrat on the committee, along with 52 other cosponsors, the bill would encourage the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to “conduct and support research relating to the efficacy and safety” of medical cannabis “on the health outcomes of covered veterans diagnosed with chronic pain, post-traumatic stress disorder, and other conditions.”
More than 30 veterans groups support the bill and Trump has indicated he would sign the legislation if it comes to his desk. Earlier this week, a piece of companion legislation was introduced in the Senate.