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House Blocks VA Doctors From Recommending Medical Marijuana

Marijuana legalization brings together a diverse group of supporters.The measure would have allowed VA doctors to consider medical marijuana for interested patients and complete the forms necessary to participate in state medical marijuana programs.Congressman Earl Blumenauer (OR-03), founder and co-chair of the Congressional Cannabis Caucus, condemned the House Rules Committee decision to block his amendment to make it easier for qualified veterans to access state-legal medical marijuana. Each year, the House leaves the provision off of their budget and the Senate panel subsequently adds it as an underlying amendment. The committee’s approval of the rider Sessions opposes, which was first enacted in 2014 and has been renewed each year since then, sets the stage for its inclusion in the final bill providing funding for the Justice Department. “This isn’t going away. I think there’s an excellent chance it happens this Congress, as veterans become more and more outspoken about why they shouldn’t be treated like second class citizens”.For comparison’s sake, marijuana is classified on the same level as heroin and LSD and on a higher level than cocaine and meth. Cocaine and meth are classified as “Schedule II” drugs, meaning that the government thinks that marijuana is more risky than drugs that killed over 9,000 people in 2016. Other of the plaintiffs include an 11-year-old epilepsy patient who needs medical marijuana treatment and a disabled military veteran using the drug to control his post traumatic stress syndrome.Marijuana, along with drugs such as ecstasy and heroin, is now classified as a Schedule I controlled substance; the classification means it is considered to be a substance with a high potential for abuse, has no accepted medical use in the United States and is subject to tight restrictions.The American Legion, which has 2.4 million members and is the largest wartime veterans association in the United States, has called for the classification of marijuana to be reconsidered so that further research can be conducted into its medical benefits.Republican Sen. Steve Daines of Montana introduced a similar amendment in the Senate’s VA spending bill, which made it through the Senate Appropriations Committee by a 24-7 vote on July 13. Many fear that this is indicative of his intention to get stricter on the cannabis industry and those who participate in it. Sessions has included medical marijuana as an area he intends to focus on too.But the amendment-which is called the “Veterans Equal Access” measure-was created to change all that. Their doctors can decide, however, to reduce their access to pain medications, including opioids, if the veteran uses medical marijuana and the physician believes they may be at risk for drug interaction or dependency. “We are beginning to make real progress for Montana’s veterans and I look forward to continuing to make progress for them”.And with the Hail Mary suit, medical marijuana advocates will have to hope Washington’s legal team is more ’98 Broncos than ’96 Jets. It’s outrageous that the Rules Committee won’t even allow a vote for our veterans.