US Senators Cast First-Ever Vote In Favor of Medical Marijuana Access

  • by Paul Armentano, NORML Deputy Director May 23, 2015

    US CapitolThe majority of the US Senate Appropriations Committee on Thursday cast votes in favor of expanding medical cannabis access to United States veterans. The committee vote marks the first time that a majority of any body of the US Senate has ever decided in favor of increased cannabis access.

    Committee members voted 18 to 12 in favor of The Veterans Equal Access Amendment, sponsored by Republican Senator Steve Daines of Montana and Democratic Senator Jeff Merkley of Oregon. It was added in committee to a must-pass military construction and veterans affairs spending bill (the Military Construction, Veterans Affairs, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act). The bill is “certain” to pass on the Senate floor, according to a Drug Policy Alliance press release.

    Weeks ago, House members narrowly killed a similar amendment in the House version of the Appropriations Act by a floor vote of 210 to 213. Once the Senate version of the act is passed by the Senate floor, House and Senate leaders will need to reconcile the two versions.

    The Daines/Merkley amendment permits 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.

    NORML coordinated its 2015 legislative ‘fly-in’ and lobby day in Washington, DC this past week, where many attendees visited with US Senators and urged them to vote for the Daines/Merkley amendment, among other pending reform legislation. Archived presentations from the conference are online here.

    To learn and/or to contact your elected officials in regard to other pending marijuana law reform legislation, please visit NORML’s ‘Take Action Center’ here.

    21 responses to “US Senators Cast First-Ever Vote In Favor of Medical Marijuana Access”

    1. Galileo Galilei says:

      Once the Senate version of the act is passed by the Senate floor, House and Senate leaders will need to reconcile the two versions.

      This reconciliation thing is a mysterious process to me.

    2. Julian says:

      Congratulations NORML! Finally all our hard lobbying work is paying off!

      The message is clear; 17 veterans are committing suicide per day for symptoms of PTSD that are treatable with %75 efficiency through the consumption of marijuana. This memorial day let America pray for the courage our NORML lobbyists and may we invoke the spirit of courage and healing in our Congress to save our veterans from a deadly prescription of narcotics and neglect, and replace it with the recommendation of legal access to cannabis.

      Cannibis Liberamus

    3. Galileo Galilei says:

      To thwart the advance of medical science is a crime against us all!

    4. somedood says:

      So, great… Preferential treatment as long as you sign on to be a meat shield for some idiots politics… and before you flame me I am a veteran(The job was bs).

    5. Rick Wiyninger says:

      MS treatment it helps

    6. Bob Constantine says:

      Oh the irony…anybody that lives in a free country wouldn’t need “senate permission” to use cannabis.

      The problem veterans have is they were duped into being cannon fodder. Kaiser Wilhelm really knew what he was doing when he got those mandatory government schools going paid for by an automatic ransom on the very homes, veterans were duped into thinking they are “protecting”. Of course my comments will set many a cognitive dissonance alarm off.

    7. Don says:

      Things need to change

    8. Somebetterdood says:

      I to am a veteran, and I too did not enjoy the ‘police action’ but it has long since been known.. Soldiers and veterans alike are the USA’s guinea pig. I remember vividly having me walk 20-25ft in a straight line. With each step, was a needle in both arms. We are the guinea pigs for the masses…

    9. Eric K. Johnson says:

      The problem veterans have is they were duped into being cannon fodder. – Bob Constantine

      War is a racket.

      The racketeers who gained ever more green dollars by and through investing the blood of our people belong in prison.

      Duped Soldiers deserve the best treatment of all!

      The Masters of War want to profit from disposable “fighting units”?…Yes?

      It’s evil to gas these kids heads up with war propaganda…send them into wrongful wars of aggression for the enrichment of 1% class “money hoarders”…and then kick those same Soldiers to the curb when they are wounded in mind, body and soul.

      Oil and Democracy don’t mix?

      America used to manufacture products and provide services to the World…now we seem to thrive on Oil Wars fought by Soldiers who are duped into becoming paid mercs for Big Oil/Big Bidness…but no cannabis to relieve the nightmare this Country has become.

      America 1776 – 2000 R.I.P.

    10. Wounded says:

      Like many vet’s I don’t trust the gov and don’t want to be on a list. This is the one roadblock to all state/gov sponsored medical cannabis programs.I appreciate the efforts made but many of us will be left out in the cold unless legislature protects our rights from do good politicians and feel good laws.