On March 12th, the House Veterans Affairs Committee (HVAC) passed two separate pieces of legislation pertaining to cannabis policy.
The first bill, HR 712, known as the VA Medicinal Cannabis Research Act of 2019, would direct the Veterans Administration to conduct research on marijuana in regards to a wide variety of ailments commonly associated with service-related issues. This bill was introduced by Congressman Lou Correa (D-CA) and a similar version of this bill also passed in HVAC but was not considered on the floor of the House.
The second bill, HR 1647, known as the Veterans Equal Access Act of 2019, would allow V.A. doctors to fill out the state-legal medical marijuana recommendations. Presently, V.A. doctors are forbidden from providing the paperwork necessary to complete a recommendation, thus forcing military veterans to seek the advice of a private, out-of-network physician. Orginially introduced years ago by Congressman Earl Blumenauer, this marks the first time that the bill has been considered by HVAC.
Both bills were only assigned to the HVAC, so now it is up to the House Majority to schedule floor time for the whole chamber to cast their votes.
In the United States, the veterans population consumes cannabis at rates far higher than the general population, with the majority reporting their use for medical purposes. According to polling conducted by the American Legion, 22% of veterans said they themselves “use cannabis to treat a mental or physical condition.”
It is critical that the full House cast their votes on the Veterans Equal Access Act this year. You can send a message to your Representative in support of HR 1647 in less then 30 seconds by clicking here.
You can learn more about marijuana and veterans issues by reading the NORML factsheet.