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Republican Rules Committee Blocks Veterans Medical Cannabis Amendments

  • by Justin Strekal, NORML Political Director June 7, 2018

    …for the second year in a row.

    The House Rules Committee, led by prohibitionist Representative Pete Sessions (R-TX), blocked multiple amendments related to marijuana from receiving consideration by the full House, thus ending their consideration and silencing the ability for the lower chamber to offer either legal protections or expanded access to veterans who use cannabis for therapeutic purposes.

    Among the amendments offered, the most critical one is known as Veterans Equal Access, which would allow VA doctors to fill out the authorizing forms needed for veterans to obtain state-legal medical marijuana. Congressman Earl Blumenauer (D-OR), author of the amendment and legislation by the same name, stated “For the second year, Pete Sessions has shown that he does not care about the health and well-being of our veterans—who are speaking out across the country. All they want is fair and equal treatment, and the ability to consult with their own physician on all treatment options. By blocking this vote, Chairman Sessions has turned his back on our wounded warriors, commonsense, and the will of the American people. He should be ashamed.”


    Another amendment pertaining to veterans who work for the Veterans Affairs Department would have provided protections to veterans consume marijuana legally under state statute from losing their job as a result of a positive suspicionless drug test. This amendment was authored by Congressman Charlie Crist (D-FL).

    For context, last year the American Legion conducted a poll that found one in five veterans self-reported using marijuana to alleviate a medical or physical condition. It is cruel and unreasonable to have veterans live in fear of having to choose between their job and their medication.

    The Senate Appropriations Committee heard the Veterans Equal Access language introduced by Senator Steve Daines (R-MT) and passed as a voice vote. Unfortunately, it has a history of passing and then being stripped out of the final version over the last few years.

    You can send a message to your Representative in support of the Veterans Equal Access Act, HR 1820, by clicking here. 

    On July 22nd – 24th, NORML will hold it’s annual Conference and Lobby Day in DC and will focus on the need to not allow our progress to be rolled back – if you can join us in DC, click here to register.

    24 responses to “Republican Rules Committee Blocks Veterans Medical Cannabis Amendments”

    1. Clem Clark says:

      Pete Sessions is not a veteran. Sorry Pete but I am thinking that being an Eagle Scout, although an honorable thing in itself, is not the equivalent. Pete sessions is laughing in the face of every veteran in America and saying, I am not a veteran so I can have medical marijuana but because you chose to serve your country to protect MY freedoms you can not.

    2. John says:

      This man allows the enemies of the United States to profit from the pain of veterans. He is obviously representing drug cartels and the criminal actions of the big pharma at the Direct expense of veterans. Why sir do you spit in the face of the men and women who protect the way of life you enjoy? …Many of us can no longer participate in life in any meaningful way and that sacrifice is met with a demand that we continue to suffer at the maximum level possible. Blocking vets access to even a small amount of relief from the suffering we endure every second of every day is by far the most inhumane act I have ever experienced. Far less humane than the acts that changed my brain forever because you trade that sacrifice and the even greater sacrifices of millions of veterans for some easy campaign contributions from criminals. Sir you are undeserving of the life granted to you by the sacrifices of so many and instead of making an effort to be worthy of them, you sell their suffering for your personal power. Representative Pete Sessions, you have shown yourself to be a vile human being.

      • Julian says:

        Call him and tell his office how you feel:

        Washington, DC Office

        2233 Rayburn House Office Building
        Washington, DC 20515-4332
        Phone: 202.225.2231
        Fax: 202.225.5878

        Dallas Office

        Lakeside Square 12377 Merit Dr
        Suite 750
        Dallas, TX 75251-2224
        Phone: 972.392.0505
        Fax: 972.392.0615

        Thank you for your service, John!

    3. Gary King says:

      Another amendment pertaining to veterans who work for the Veterans Affairs Department would have provided protections to veterans consume marijuana legally under state statute from losing their job as a result of a positive suspicionless drug test.

      It is cruel and unreasonable to have veterans live in fear of having to choose between their job and their medication.

      In response to Pete Sessions blocking this amendment, I suppose that as a VET seeking help for PTSD, ( or another medical symptom MMJ allegedly helps), I’ll cease to confide in my doctors after just beginning to start.
      The GOP is straddling both sides of the fence. Trump seeks the vote of those who “recognize” a State’s rights to regulate MMJ. At the same time the GOP still support denial of a right to employment because of positive THC test. The VA still seems to promise to test for THC those who seek employment therapy concerning PTSD. The Republican Congressman from the Southern, “backward”, state of Texas is effectively telling the VA how to treat the VETS in our most populous cities, New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, etc., which predominantly vote Democratic. Illinois PTSD patients could have a better chance to effectively secure employment so long as a prospective employer does not test a PTSD patient for medical marijuana. The employer does not have a right to know that an individual is under doctor’s care for such treatment, either, because of potential discrimination concerns.
      Further studies may reveal marijuana helpful for other mental “illness” situations such as tendency towards panic-disorder seizures, or other psychological, neurological conditions still not fully understood.
      It is strange right wing politicians are such “know-it-alls” that they can easily label as evil the therapeutic use of medical marijuana even when a majority of the population has finally reformed the perspective to one of tolerance.

    4. Rick says:

      If a doctor prescribes it for a medically acceptable condition why should Veterans be told no they can not use it in their treatment? That veteran would be required to attend scheduled Dr. appointments at the VA Hospital for medical monitoring. Therefore there is no drug abuse occurring. It is a wonderful medicine for so many untreatable medical conditions such as the horrors of PTSD. What caring politician would say no to a qualified Doctor working to help the ill with MJ instead of morphine, methadone etc if MJ works for that Dr.’s patient and is monitored by a VA DOCTOR?

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