Amendment To Allow VA Doctors To Discuss Marijuana With Vets REJECTED
The House Appropriations Committee rejected the idea that VA doctors should be allowed to discuss medical marijuana treatment options with patients Wednesday.
Democratic Rep. Sam Farr of California tried to introduce the amendment to the 2016 Military Construction and Veterans Affairs appropriations bill, only to be rejected by the committee.
Farr reacted, saying that “By ignoring the changing views on medical marijuana, the federal government continues to leave our nation’s veterans behind to suffer.”
Currently, 23 states and the District of Columbia have medical marijuana regimes. Popular support across the U.S. remains high, with 63 percent of adults in support of medical marijuana in their home states. (RELATED: Poll: Overwhelming Support For Medical Marijuana On 4/20)
However, because the VA is a federal department and marijuana is still a Schedule I drug under federal law, doctors cannot discuss medical marijuana with their patients, regardless of whether it could provide significant relief.
Farr has a different opinion on the matter.
“Veterans are not second-class patients,” Farr stated. “They deserve access to the same forms of pain treatment available to the public.”
While Farr’s amendment never stood a strong chance at inclusion, Democratic Sen. Cory Booker’s bill in the Senate has attracted considerable support. Among other things, the bill would permit VA physicians to recommend medical marijuana to treat serious injuries, as well as chronic conditions, in states where the drug is already legal.
While the legislation would not legalize marijuana across the U.S., it would allow states to set their own policies and definitively prevent the federal government from interfering. (RELATED: Senators Unveil Bill To Legalize Federal Medical Marijuana)
“With studies showing that medical cannabis access decreases suicide and addiction rates, the CARERS Act is absolutely necessary to help fix a broken healthcare system for veterans, which deals with suicides and addiction at catastrophic rates,” said retired U.S. Navy Third Class Petty Officer TJ Thompson in a statement.
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