Blumenauer Applauds Senate Appropriations Committee Passage of VA Medical Marijuana Amendment

April 14, 2016
Press Release

Washington, DC – Today, Representative Earl Blumenauer (D-OR-03) applauded the Senate Committee on Appropriations for passing the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Medical Marijuana Amendment for the second consecutive year. This amendment, offered by Senators Jeff Merkley (D-OR) and Steve Daines (R-MT), would allow VA physicians to provide recommendations regarding the participation of a veteran in a state medical marijuana program.

“For the second time, the Senate has taken action to do what’s right for our veterans. I commend Senators Merkley and Daines for leading this fight in the Senate, and I look forward to pushing it across the finish line in the House,” said Representative Blumenauer. “All in all, today’s vote by the Senate Appropriations Committee is very encouraging as we advocate for passage of simple and commonsense measures to reform our marijuana laws.”

Since 2014, Representative Blumenauer has led the effort to make it easier for qualified veterans to access medical marijuana – which can be used in many states to treat a variety of conditions, including post-traumatic stress and traumatic brain injuries frequently suffered by veterans. Currently, the VA specifically prohibits its medical providers from completing forms brought by their patients seeking recommendations or opinions regarding participation in a state medical marijuana program.

During upcoming House consideration of the FY 17 Military Construction, Veterans Affairs and Related Agencies (MilCon-VA) appropriations legislation, Representative Blumenauer plans to once again offer an amendment that ensures no funds made available to the VA can be used to implement this prohibition, in effect striking it down. Last year, the amendment narrowly failed 210-213, compared to 2014 when it failed 195-222. Additionally, Representative Blumenauer introduced legislation that would clear the way for VA doctors to talk to our veterans about medical marijuana.