House GOP Leadership Again Turns Its Back on Our Veterans

June 7, 2018

As our veterans return home with injuries that are both visible and unseen, we have a moral obligation to help them get the care they need.

Yet, House Republican leadership this week turned its back on our veterans AGAIN by blocking my efforts to make sure they have safe and equal access to medical marijuana. This hopelessly out of touch decision is outrageous and puts our veterans at risk.

Veterans—who experience post-traumatic stress disorder, brain injuries, chronic pain, and more—are even more vulnerable than other citizens to the opioid crisis that is gripping the nation. They are dying of opiate overdoses at nearly double the national average.

I’ve heard from countless veterans who say medical marijuana is a safer, more effective, and less addictive treatment alternative to opioids. But, Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) medical providers are prohibited from completing forms allowing a qualified veteran to participate in a state medical marijuana program—30 states now have programs! The result: our veterans are being forced outside of the VA system to seek a recommendation.

As the House considers legislation this week to fund the VA, I planned to offer my Veterans Equal Access amendment that would overturn the policy. It doesn’t require VA providers to recommend medical marijuana, but rather makes a conversation on all treatment options between VA doctors and patients more accessible.

Despite broad bipartisan support—and the fact that this amendment has passed before—Republican leadership is refusing to even allow a vote. Unfortunately, they have decided that the health of those who’ve risked their lives for this nation is not their priority.

I won’t stop fighting for this bipartisan effort until our veterans receive the respect and care that they have nobly earned.


Earl Blumenauer

Member of Congress