In 2014 many laws were passed in favor of using marijuana both medically and recreationally. But soon the first congressional marijuana vote will be taking place for 2015. The U.S. House of Representatives this week is looking to conduct what will be the first of many crucial cannabis law reform votes.
When the time comes to present a bill to the House floor to fund the military and the Department of Veterans Affairs, a bipartisan group of representatives will suggest an amendment that is focused on making it easier for veterans to obtain legal access to medical marijuana.
With the current law, even in states that have legal marijuana programs, Veterans Affairs doctors are prohibited to fill out the medical marijuana recommendation forms for their patients.
Reps. Tom Reed, Sam Farr, Earl Blumenauer, and Dana Rohrabacher, suggest through the offered amendment, if adopted, would not allow the V.A. from spending any revenue to enforce the gag rule in medical marijuana states. “While there is no single approach to aiding our nation’s veterans, medical marijuana is proven to help in treating post-traumatic stress and traumatic brain injuries frequently suffered by veterans,” Blumenauer stated in a press release. “States are listening to their residents on the benefits of medical marijuana, including veterans, and are changing their laws. It is unacceptable for our wounded warriors to be forced out of the V.A. system to simply seek a recommendation on whether or not medical marijuana is a good treatment option. We should not be preventing access to medicine that can help them deal with these injuries to survive and thrive.”
Another closely related amendment was barely defeated on the House floor this past year by a vote of 222-195. Yet, in the following cannabis law reformers were victorious with five other votes in a row: One that prohibits the Department of Justice from spending funds to interfere with state medical cannabis laws, second backing industrial hemp and two others focusing on the ability of state legal cannabis businesses to obtain banking services.
Though the veterans amendment was defeated on majority party line vote in committee last week, its chances are far greater on the House floor. Since most funds for amendments only apply to each fiscal year, it is safe to assume that other cannabis measures that were overlooked this past year as well as possibly others, will also be brought to a vote again in the near future.
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