Congress Drops Veterans Medical Cannabis Amendment

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Earlier this year, both the House and the Senate approved a Veterans Affairs appropriations bill that contained an amendment that would have allowed Veterans Affairs doctors to recommend medical cannabis to their patients who have qualifying conditions. The House and Senate versions of the bill differed in other ways, so it went to what’s called a conference committee, comprised of members from both chambers, in order to work out compromise language. That language did not include the medical cannabis amendment. US News reported on Sept. 29, 2016, that:

When President Barack Obama signed the package on Thursday, it did not include a measure that would allow Veterans Health Administration doctors to fill out the forms necessary for veterans to acquire marijuana in states that allow its medical use.

In its final form, the spending package that passed Wednesday included the fiscal 2017 military construction and Veterans Affairs spending bill, to which the amendment had been attached before being abruptly stripped by a bicameral conference committee.

The Veterans Affairs’ and military appropriations had passed the House and Senate in slightly different forms earlier this year as party leaders fought over the level of funding to address the Zika virus. But each chamber separately included the veterans marijuana amendment.

The marijuana amendment passed the House in May with a 233-189 vote. The Senate adopted a bill including the amendment in April after the reform was included by a committee following a 20-10 vote.

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