Congress Votes To Permit Military Veterans Access To Medical Cannabis

  • by Paul Armentano, NORML Deputy Director May 19, 2016

    US_capitolMembers of the US House of Representatives voted today for the first time to expand military veterans’ access to medicinal cannabis in states that allow it.

    Members voted 233 to 189 in favor of the Veterans Equal Access Amendment, offered by Rep. Blumenauer (D-OR) to the Fiscal Year 2017 Military Construction, Veterans Affairs and Related Agencies Appropriations bill, that prohibits the federal government from sanctioning V.A. physicians who wish to recommend cannabis therapy to their patients.

    “We should not be limiting the treatment options available to our veterans,” Rep. Blumenauer opined on the House floor.

    Under the provision, military veterans who reside in states with active medical marijuana programs would be able to obtain a recommendation from their V.A. physician rather than having to seek out a private doctor.

    The vote is a marked change from last year, when House members defeated a similar amendment 213 to 210.

    You can watch today’s debate and vote here. A roll call of the amendment vote is here.

    Members of the US Senate Appropriations Committee previously voted in April in favor of a similar provision. This afternoon, legislation containing the amendment was approved on the Senate floor.

    The House and Senate versions of FY 2017 Military Construction, Veterans Affairs and Related Agencies Appropriations bill will now await a concurrence vote prior to being sent to the President.

    16 responses to “Congress Votes To Permit Military Veterans Access To Medical Cannabis”

    1. Julian says:

      God Bless America, our veterans don’t have to lose their VA doctor to light up and stop the opiate suicide.

      Ol Earl put a dent in the veteran Chair Dent, didn’t he?… “I-uh-I-I-re-reluctantly V-v-vote nay?” said a Republican Representative from Pennsylvania… Representing a state That JUST legalized medical marijuana… The 24th state to do so… The CHAIR of the House Committee on Veterans Affairs… and he just stuck a roll of bills up his @$$, and stood up in front of God and everybody in opposition to saving our veterans lives with access to marijuana from their own legalized state! That blew my mind! That footage was AMAZING, Paul, and THANK you for the link to the rollcall. (I knew my spineless two-faced rep. Lamar Smith mr.”fight 4 veterans” himself would vote against this bill but in your FACE you P.O.S. Legislators, it passed ANYWAY!)

      And how bout that ending; “The nays got it,” The NAYS GOT IT? WTF? The I’s sounded like an army of veterans… The nays sounded like a bunch of dying GOATS! …but THE NAYS GOT it? :-/ Fortunately ol Earl really HAS a spine and stood up for a “counted vote,” and it passed.( …Nayin and a studderin like a buncha dyin billy goats…)

      That was oddly reminiscent of last Saturday in Vegas when Hillary’s campaign wonders why delegates became furious at the Democratic chair for slamming the gavel on Bernie for the NAYS, and storming out like an evil girl who trashed the cake because it wasn’t her birthday… (No chair throwing, I looked at the video). It’s just too bad that not enough Independents register as Democrats in time to vote for Sanders. (California cut off is the 23rd).

      This is great news for Texas as we prepare for the next legislative amendment to improve our bill to put the “compassion” into “compassionate use.”

      • Julian says:

        Special thanks to Democratic Representative Earl Blumenauer, OR and Republican Representative Joe Heck, NV for working across the aisle on this bill to save our veterans lives, like Congressman are supposed to. Let this roll call be the I or Nay we vote in November!


        • Robert Davis says:

          It’s about time! Gratz to all the people in congress that voted yes on this you need to keep your jobs. To those that Voted NO! I suggest you find other employment.

    2. Me says:

      This is a step in the right direction! I kW we could do it!

    3. That's fair says:

      I think this is a good thing. BUT why not all vets. You can get the help you really need if you move to a different state? Such a missed opportunity.

      • James says:

        Because then they would be telling people to break the law. This is a nice bill and all but I would love to see one that encompasses all the states that removes it off the controlled substance list. This bill gives me hope that there might be change coming down the line but we’ll see.

    4. Tony E. says:

      So even Congress now officially recognizes the medicinal value in Marijuana…yet it remains a Schedule I classification??? Shaking my head. Just one more example of the obvious stupidity of our Government and why we are fed up with the current establishment.

      • Todd says:

        So true. A civil discussion would be the Constitutional process according to our Bill of Rights:
        Congress shall make no law …abridging … the right of the people … to petition the Government for a redress of grievances. (Amendment 1)
        In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right …to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor. (Amendment 6)

      • Don M says:

        I was thinking the same thing! Congress has officially recognized that cannabis has medicinal value. So, why does congress still believe that cannabis users should be considered criminals?

        Oh yeah, sometimes I have to remind myself it’s all about the $$$ in many of their decisions… It is a very embarrassing thing for “The Land of the Free” to continue to cling to the idiocy, lies, and propaganda of the past.

        Law Enforcement is just as bad or worse than our elected leaders when it comes to the drug war. They have profited greatly at the expense of the American people they supposedly serve and are trying very hard to maintain their gravy train. Of course, they all (except perhaps the very stupidest among them) know that cannabis is not the dangerous drug they like to portray… Jerks!

    5. Todd says:

      “Give me your tired, your poor,
      Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
      The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
      Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed, to me:
      I lift my lamp beside the golden door.”

      Emma Lazarus quote-on-the-Statue-of-Liberty

      “Give me your tired Congress, your rich,
      Your sequestered masses yearning to get drunk,
      The wretched refuse of your teaming and corruption.
      Send these, the homeless, tempest tossed, to hell:
      I lift my lighter beside the golden door.”

      Todd quote on NORML

    6. Julian says:

      I was diggin through the archives for an old song I wrote here a couple years back for Sgt. Begin, a brave veteran whose testimony for the medical efficacy of marijuana to treat opiate addiction qualified it as medicine. Even though Judge Mueller shot down the admissable evidence concluding “Congress doesn’t have to be right,” we are now observing a string of victories for veterans including the Supreme Court’s rejection of the political theater to declare Colorado’s legalization unconstitutional from AG’s of NE and OK, to states accepting PTSD as treatable with marijuana, and now this amendment to allow veterans to have VA recommendation in those states.
      So I found that old song I wrote and decided to make some of my own “amendments” to bring the song up to date… I’ll include it, in the interest of limited space, on my next post:

    7. end all wars except those which battle ignorance.


    8. Julian says:

      Julian says:
      November 11, 2014 at 10:11 am

      Oh did you hear of the win
      Of ol Sgt. Begin
      They sent him to war
      But the war was within

      In one dark battle
      18 soldiers fell
      Then back in the saddle
      Began young Begin’s Hell…

      They regrouped him n then
      Back to Iraq again
      Asufferin from PTSD
      What a sin…

      Medics filled him with morphine
      Th’day they shot his elbow off clean
      As they dragged him off cryin
      “Doc, what does this mean?”

      As he struggled with chills
      The VA filled him with pills
      Instead of bullets he’s dyin
      From visions that kills…

      Lord only knew what to say
      The day took his girl away
      For those pills they kept givin
      Took his baby away…

      Wounded out in the rain
      How could he control this pain?
      Life wasnt worth livin
      Opiate addiction’s insane

      Thats when he discovered
      Some weed in the cupboard
      And ol Sgt. Begin
      Just consciously hovered

      As he looked at his life
      He managed his strife
      He brought back his baby
      An lookin for a wife…

      Well the doctors sat still
      N’said “its weed or the pill
      Sgt. Begin chose weed
      An now his life is a thrill

      In a Court in Cali land
      On a Federal stand
      Judge Mueller allowed
      What he tried to understand…

      “Dr. Madras,” said Begin
      “You say weed aint medicine,”
      But he could not stand idly by
      And let that lyin bitch sin…

      It was a terrible night
      The real bitch was in sight;
      Judge Mueller said “Congress…
      “…don’t have to be right”

      The cards they were dealt
      Begin’s head his hands heldt
      I cannot imagine
      The way that he felt

      But his words caught on fire
      The whole drug empire
      Now doctors recommend
      You don’t hire a liar

      The VA chair clown
      Had to sit his @$$ down
      Ol Earl Blumenauer
      Took truth to law-town

      So if you hear what i wrote
      You best be ready to vote
      And honor our soldiers
      With this passing note…

      Pass IiIiIIIiIIIiiiiit….
      Don’t HarAAAaaAaAaaasiiiiiiiiit!

    9. wounded says:

      A good first step but many of the most needy will never get the medicine recommended until federal laws are amended.The VA needs to step up to the plate and pay for the medication for those who can’t afford it.

    10. GREY WOLF says: