Washington, DC: Members of the US House of Representatives narrowly defeated a proposed amendment that sought to allow veterans greater access to cannabis therapy.
House members rejected the amendment by a vote of 210 to 213. One hundred and seventy-five Democrats voted for the measure, while eight voted against it. Thirty-five Republicans voted for the amendment, while 205 voted against it.
A similar measure was defeated in 2014 by a vote of 195 to 222.
The bipartisan amendment, introduced by Reps. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) and Joe Heck (R-NV), would have permitted physicians affiliated with the US Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to recommend cannabis therapy to veterans in states that allow for its therapeutic use. Under current federal law, VA doctors are not permitted to fill out written documentation forms authorizing their patients to participate in state-sanctioned medical cannabis programs.
Stand-alone legislation (HR 667) to permit VA physicians to recommend cannabis therapy is pending in the US House of Representatives, Committee on Veterans Affairs: Health Subcommittee. A similar provision is also included in Senate Bill 683/HR 1538, The Compassionate Access, Research Expansion, and Respect States (CARERS) Act.
For more information, please contact Allen St. Pierre, NORML Executive Director, at (202) 483-5500.