Senate Panel approves Medical Marijuana for Military Veterans

Posted by Sagar Satapathy on April 17, 2016.

In a major step forward, a key U.S. Senate panel on Thursday voted to provide the military veterans a hassle-free access to medical marijuana as a potential medical treatment in states, where it is legal.

By a bipartisan vote of 20 - 10, the Senate Appropriations Committee passed an amendment that would allow Veterans Affairs (VA) doctors to discuss and recommend medical marijuana for various health issues, under the same rules as civilian physicians in medical marijuana states. The bill would also prevent federal funds from being used to drop the hammer on VA doctors who operate medical marijuana with their patients

The measure, sponsored by Senators Steve Daines, R-Montana, and Jeff Merkley, D-Oregon, is attached to the Fiscal Year 2017 Military Construction and Veterans Affairs Appropriations Bill, which now needs to be passed by the Senate.

It is the second time that senators have tried to enhance the accessibility of medical marijuana for military veterans who are treated at VA medical facilities and want to use marijuana for various medical issues.

Last November, the Senate approved the 2016 version of the spending bill, with the medical marijuana amendment attached, but the provision was not included in the final omnibus appropriations package signed into law by President Obama in December.

“Veterans should not be denied access to a medicine that can help alleviate their condition, and doctors must be able to discuss and recommend all treatments,” Michael Collins, deputy director for the Drug Policy Alliance’s Office of National Affairs, said in a statement. “They have served this country, and shouldn’t be discriminated against.”

Many claim medical marijuana is useful for issues like chronic pain, PTSD, anxiety, depression and more. As many as twenty-three states and the District of Columbia have legalized medical marijuana, although it is illegal at the federal level in the U.S.

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