Republicans in the U.S. Senate voted this week to block a bill directing the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to research cannabis as a treatment for chronic pain and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). In Wednesday’s procedural vote, the Senate rejected the VA Medical Cannabis Research Act (S. 326) by a 57-42 vote, falling short of the 60 votes needed to continue debate on the bill. I was.
The bipartisan bill was introduced earlier this year by Democratic Senator John Tester of Montana and co-sponsored by Alaska Republican Senator Dan Sullivan. In February, the bill passed a closed-door meeting of the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee.
under invoiceThe VA should conduct large observational studies evaluating the safety and efficacy of cannabis as a treatment for PTSD and chronic pain. Identical invoices (HR 1003) sponsored by California Democratic Rep. Lou Correa is also pending in the House, with Republican Rep. Jack Bergman signed on as a co-sponsor.
This clinical study will explore the positive and negative health consequences of cannabis use by veterans, including whether marijuana use reduces alcohol and drug use. The study will also explore other aspects of medical cannabis use, including pain intensity, sleep quality, agitation, and overall quality of life. Once the study is complete, the law requires the VA to report to Congress on the results and the feasibility of conducting clinical trials.
Voting blocks new research on veterans health
When introducing the bill earlier this year, Tester, chairman of the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee, said in a statement that the bill would give veterans new options for managing their health care.
“Our nation’s veterans deserve choice when it comes to treating their war wounds. You have to understand it.” He said“With our bipartisan legislation, more and more veterans are getting significant relief from alternative treatments such as medical cannabis, while working to help them make safe, informed decisions about their health. veterans’ voices are guaranteed to be heard.”
A total of 41 Republican senators voted to block the bipartisan bill, and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer changed the vote to “NO” to keep the bill under Senate rules. bottom.
In a social media post, the tester wrote: 41 Senate Republicans are telling those who have defended our country that their government does not honor their sacrifices.”
“Not only is it impeding the VA from *researching* medical cannabis as an alternative treatment for veterans dealing with chronic pain and PTSD, but it is also preventing veterans’ home ownership initiatives, community-based support, outreach, etc. It impedes improvement.” he continued“That’s totally unacceptable.”
In a pre-voting floor speech, Kansas Sen. Jerry Moran, a ranking member of the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee, was one of eight Republican senators who voted to advance the cannabis bill, vowing to support the measure. said it was “in an effort to ensure that veterans are not acting out anything that would be harmful to them and help them make informed decisions.” according to reports from military times.
But senators who backed the bill on Wednesday weren’t enough to move the bill forward. He said it took place after a “lively discussion” at a luncheon.
Cornin told CNN There was concern among Republican senators about the methodology of the clinical trials authorized by the bill. “
The senators also said Republicans were not given a “guarantee” that they would be given the opportunity to propose amendments to the bill, and said they were concerned about whether the bill would be taken up by the House and Republican leadership in the House. added.
There may have also been political concerns, with critics of moving the bill forward saying the bill’s potential success would come from a victory for Tester, an incumbent Democratic Senator seeking reelection in a conservative state. suggests that it may be considered
Cornyn said negotiations on the bill will continue and the bill could be revived in the Senate. He explained Wednesday’s vote was what “pushed the pause button” on the bill. said the vote to block the bill was “deplorable” and added that he hoped efforts to revive the bill in the Senate at a later date would be successful.
Jeffrey M. Zucker, president of Denver-based cannabis-focused business strategy firm Green Lion Partners and vice chairman of the Board of Directors for the Marijuana Policy Project, announced the VA’s action on the medical marijuana research bill. expressed disappointment at the decision to delay
“I am deeply saddened to hear that Senate Republicans blocked a procedural vote to advance this bill. It’s frustrating to see how politics is holding back progress on an issue that shouldn’t be. high times“However, I do hope that lawmakers will come together to pass legislation that will enable medical cannabis research and ultimately allow veterans to reap the benefits of medical cannabis. deserve the best possible care, and medical cannabis can provide much-needed relief to those suffering from chronic pain, PTSD, and other conditions. It’s time for us to put our differences aside and do the right thing for our veterans.”