US Senate Approves Funding Provision Expanding Medical Cannabis Access To Veterans

pills_v_potOn the eve of Veterans Day, members of the US Senate adopted language to permit Veterans access to medical marijuana in states that allow for its use.

On Tuesday, Senate members passed the FY2016 Military Construction and Veterans Affairs Appropriations Bill,which for the first time includes language to allow Veteran’s Administration (VA) doctors to recommend medical marijuana to patients in states where medical marijuana is legal.

The Daines/Merkley amendment had been previously approved by members of the US Senate Appropriations committee in May. By contrast, House members narrowly rejected a similar amendment this spring. House and Senate leaders will now need to reconcile the two versions of the FY2016 spending bill.

Under current regulations, the Department of Veteran’s Affairs prohibits doctors from issuing cannabis recommendations even where it is legal. If the Daines/Merkley amendment is ultimately included in the reconciled version of the FY2016 spending bill, the Justice Department will be barred from spending any money to limit VA doctors from recommending marijuana, or to penalize veterans who choose to use medical marijuana in states that allow it’s use.

25 thoughts

  1. All eyes on the House. Writem n callm! Tell them about Dr. Sisley’s research and how 17 veteran suicides per day can be prevented by the safe and legally regulated consumption of marijuana.
    Take Action link on the top right hand corner.
    Happy Veterans Day!

  2. So the Justice Department can currently penalize veterans who choose to treat their cancer or other ailment with medical MJ in a state where it is legal for them to do so???

    That is incredibly terrible. How is it that a veteran can risk his life for his country, be exposed to chemicals (Agent Orange) which cause cancer while in service, and then be penalized for trying to fight the disease using a natural herb in a state that permits it by law?

    What hypocracy, injustice, and oppression.

    I fully support the bill this article talks about but what needs to happen also is Cannabis needs to be taken off the controlled substances act which could done either by congress or the president and the attorney general acting together.

  3. This is, in my opinion, one of the best avenues to pursue legalization. If a politician votes to lock up a veteran for smoking a joint, they need to be called out. I guarantee attitudes will change if they are forced by veterans to confront legalization in this light.

  4. Doesn’t this throw out the whole concept of “No medical use” for a Class 1 drug, and by Congress no less?

  5. This is going to be a huge step in the war on marijuana prohibition, if they give the OK for VA doctors to be able to recommend medical marijuana it will be virtually impossible for the government to then say it has no medical benefit and should remain a schedule 1 drug. That is our biggest hurdle, we need to focus on small steps at first when we are talking about the federal level. The most reasonable and obtainable goal in my opinion is to get Marijuana rescheduled, then once science is able to be done it will be just a matter of time, most likely a short time before the political community will have to accept the medical communities view on Marijuana being uses as medicine

  6. I am a 100% disabiled veteran who has failed (in combination) pharmaceutical drugs, Botox, acupuncture and osteopathic manipulation for the treatment of chronic daily migraines. I continued to have 15 migraines per month. Desperate I tried medical marijuana in my home state Maine. Off all of the above. I now have 2 migraines per month on medical cannabis. Not to mention…marijuana aborts the migraine instantly!!!

  7. Funny since I got kicked out of the military for failing a piss test for marijuana. I hate this world so much.

  8. Its also time we, as a country, stop lying to our children. Time we stop lying to them that heroin is on par with heroin.

    The children see people partaking of cannabis, and it doesn’t demolish their lives. Uncle Sam tells them that heroin is just about as bad.

    Logic follows that the children question the true dangers of heroin, and, hell, if meth isn’t as bad as cannabis, then it might be worth a shot too!



    It is time to remove cannabis from the CSA, completely.

    Plot a graph, with one axis labelled:

    and one labelled:

    Now, mark various chemicals
    as has been demonstrated in your own experiences, the experiences of others,
    and with data provided by respected organizations, even the NIDA or DEA…


    If your graph is at all accurate,
    then CIGARETTES (LEGAL) will be marked nearly as likely to be prone to chemical dependency as ANYTHING ELSE.

    AND, again, if your graph is at all accurate, then you will see that ALCOHOL (LEGAL) will be ranked as high a risk to USER and SOCIETY as ANY OTHER CHEMICAL COMPOUND.

    Between the risk of addiction in cigarettes, (nearly the same as heroin*),
    and the dangers of alcohol,
    which are routinely nearly as bad as crack*.)


    SO, current arguments about preventing legalization of ANY chemical compound due to its tendency to become addictive, or its risks to health/society ARE PURELY BULLSHIT.

    * I submit this from my own personal encounters over time. I have not done crack,
    tried a few others in the neighborhood, long, long ago. (Ask me about the downside to Ritalin for kids sometime…)


    Its also time we, as a country, stop lying to our children.

    Time we stop lying to them that CANNABIS is on par with heroin.

  10. Summer is over, Cold rain has come to southeast Idaho. Windows got closed, and the heater cranked on. These are exciting times, and I should be excited but sometimes I feel blue, maybe it’s because war is not a walk on a warm spring day. There is no honor in it really just dead bodies in a gutter.

    Being a lot like many Americans I have some interest of WW2 history. I think about how the people in occupied Europe might have felt during the summer of 1944 as allied forces fought their way across Western Europe.

    My eyes could get just a bit wet, a relief from my pent up feelings of excitement, I guess… well hell thanks Norml, thanks veterans, LIBERATION!

  11. Cannabis oil and plant residues have helped me live 22 years past my death date. Many patients have died under the care of healthcare professionals that only paid a higher malpractice insurance premium to account for the loss. When will they be able to use cannabis? Many already are. Its called civil disobedience.

  12. Wow, how can they do this without amending the controlled substances act? It’s in direct violation of other federal policies? I’m totally for it, but this doesn’t help veterans with jobs…

  13. @Michael,
    Veterans can not be piss tested if they commit suicide from opiate, tobacco and alcohol addiction from seeking pain management that complies with anti-marijuana VA ruling. Relief now. We’ll get the drug testing industry and private “social service” prison-for-profit companies like GEO in good time.

  14. so can I get a va doctor to recommend marijuana in new mexico where it is legal by the state, or not at this time don’t understand the language or legal terms at this time, can I ask the va for recommendation or not

    [Paul Armentano responds: No. The provision is yet to become law. It has simply passed the Senate. The measure must be reconciled by the House and, if still included in the final bill, singed by the President into law.]

  15. A logical step would be to remove cannabis from the Federal drug list, Schedule I rating which keeps it illegal for use on the federal level. Perhaps when President Obama is leaving office, he will issue another Administrative Order and America will end this crazy cannabis prohibition. Every ballot petition signed and every vote taken in Florida, as well as other states, supporting both Medical Marijuana and, in Florida, the Florida Constitution Amendment Ballot RIGHT OF ADULTS TO CANNABIS gives this movement greater momentum. Florida, as important as it is due to the Electoral College votes, is a game-changer on the national area, to the point where Bernie Sanders who support citizen’s right to personal privacy and cannabis use, is leading the Presidential candidates to declare their support for this national issue. Other than Trump, Republicans seem to be adamantly opposed to legal cannabis and medical cannabis use. Bernie Sanders supports cannabis use; Hillary Clinton said “no,” she would not vote for legal cannabis but thought it should be studied further . . . . The public stance of every candidate for President is being reviewed by voters all over the USA . . . and some surprises may be on the way.

  16. Morphene almost killed me VA gives you more then enough to od. But something that works for my pain and ptsd I have to break the law to get. People are still going to jail just to get thier medicine that works.

  17. I have been taking the poison the VA prescribes by the bottle full for years. Nothing works and the side affects are a nightmare. I was graced with some medicine that does work wonders but it is 100% illegal in my state. I had never tried it before but even after only 2 times I noticed a big difference. I believe I could trash all the other meds if I had full access to this.

  18. Why is medical marijuana not legal in all states by now. I’m getting worried that it’s not going to happen to be honest. I hope trump or whoever makes this happen.

  19. I am a veteran and I suffer from chronic back pain. I am prescribed 3 types of meds which all have side effects. after acquiring a MMC I was able to get of the meds. in addition the medical marijuana helps with my PTS.

  20. This is a good thing.

    My VA doc and I have been talking about this.

    There is some flexibility now in the thinking process which is allowing for some consideration to our plight. I believe that when we, as veterans, begin talking in masse with our providers about the science behind marijuana and its benefits, we will see more docs and psychiatrists allowing for the prescribing of marijuana to treat our aliments. The school of managing symptoms is following the way of the dodo. 🙂

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