Senate Approves VA Medical Marijuana Amendment

Military Medical Marijuana

Veterans are one step closer to getting access to medical marijuana. The U.S. Senate Appropriations Committee approved an amendment to the Military Construction and Veterans Affairs Appropriations that would allow VA doctors to discuss medical marijuana with their patients and complete paperwork for state medical marijuana programs for patients that qualify.

The language of the amendment states that funding cannot be spent on enforcing VA Health Administration directives prohibiting VA physicians from writing recommendations for medical marijuana, reports Marijuana Policy Project (MPP).

Robert Capecchi, director of federal policies for MPP, says, “Monitoring patients’ medication decisions and engaging in frank conversations about treatment options are care aspects of the doctor-patient relationship. The current policy flies in the face of those objectives. It does nothing to help our veterans, but can potentially hurt them.” He continued saying, “This measure removes unnecessary barriers to medical marijuana access for the men and women who have volunteered to serve in our armed forces. It will save veterans time and money, and it will allow them to have more open and honest discussions with their primary care providers.”

The Senate must still approve the appropriations bill and the House would then be required to adopt language similar to the bill and it would have to be signed by the President. If the amendment is signed into law, VA physicians will no longer have to worry about facing penalties for discussing medical marijuana as a treatment option with their patients. Veterans seeking medical marijuana as a treatment option currently must use doctors outside of the VA system.