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Veteran Access to Medical Cannabis Approved in Spending Bill

An amendment has been approved by the U.S. House of Representatives to be included in a spending that would prevent the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) from prohibiting veteran access to medical cannabis.

The amendment to the 2024 Military Construction, Veterans Affairs, and Related Agencies appropriations bill (H.R. 4366) “prevents the VA from interfering with a veteran’s ability to participate in a legal state medical cannabis program, deny service to such a veteran, or limit health care providers’ ability to make appropriate recommendations of this treatment option for veterans.”

Representative Brian Mast, who introduced the amendment with Reps. Earl Blumenauer, Barbara Lee, and Dave Joyce, stated: “I rise in support of a bipartisan amendment and it’s to do something simple – give veterans access to every possible tool when it comes to the wounds of war of which I am innately familiar.

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“The amendment is quite simple. It allows VA doctors in states with legal medical cannabis programmes to discuss cannabis as a treatment option with their patients.

“…what they [veterans] face … is a Department of Veterans Affairs that does not allow their primary care physicians their post-deployment clinics to discuss the medical treatment options and work with them through the paperwork for those medical treatment options that are actually available in their states.

“If they’re not working with their doctors to do that, then you have to ask yourself who is it that they would be working with to do that for medical treatment, legal in their state? This amendment would change that and make it the case that the Department of Veterans Affairs can assist those veterans for whom it is appropriate and recommended by their doctors that medical cannabis be a treatment option.”

The approval of the amendment comes just days after the US Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) provided an update to its clinical guidelines stating its opposition to the use of cannabis for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in veterans.

The recently updated VA guidelines claim that there is a lack of evidence to support the use of cannabis in veterans with PTSD.

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