House Lawmakers Reintroduce Bipartisan Veterans Equal Access Act

House Lawmakers Reintroduce Bipartisan Veterans Equal Access Act

Two lawmakers on Thursday reintroduced a bipartisan bill that would provide veterans with access to medical marijuana. The bill, the Veterans Equal Access Act, was reintroduced in the House by Rep. Earl Blumenauer, a Democrat from Oregon, and Rep. Brian Mast, a Florida Republican who lost both legs while serving in the Army in Afghanistan. rice field.

“When I woke up, I was on probably 20 different types of drugs. [oxycodones] and epidural anesthesia mast said Spectrum News. “I’ve never taken anti-inflammatories, heavy sleep sedatives, antidepressants, or had things I never thought of. Or I could even say a former name in my life.” .”

If passed by Congress and signed into law by the President, the Veterans Equal Access Act would authorize physicians at U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) medical facilities to issue medical cannabis recommendations that comply with state law. increase. Under current regulations, veterans’ doctors are not permitted to complete the necessary paperwork for veterans’ use of medical marijuana in states that have legalized medical use of cannabis.

“We lose about 20 veterans a day by taking their own lives,” Blumenauer said. [with] It allowed access to medical marijuana and gave out opioids like Tic Tac. I think there are some things that are changing. I’ve had discussions with the Secretary of Veterans Affairs, and this is a long overdue move. ”

The Veterans Equal Access Act has been introduced into Congress in recent years with bipartisan support, and the act has gained approval at the commission level. But so far, the bill’s supporters have failed to get it passed.

“Today was a monumental day for veterans. We have been working to reform our policies.” Blumenauer said When the bill was approved by the House Veterans Affairs Committee in March 2020. We must reform federal cannabis policy. ”

Bill has broad bipartisan support.

Blumenauer said the VA does not support legislation that would allow veterans access to medical cannabis. However, veterans groups such as AMVETS and Veterans Affairs (VFW) support the bill.

“Some veterans across the country are hesitant to even use VA Healthcare because of concerns about having to discuss legally ingested cannabis products with a VA doctor,” VFW said. Associate Director Brittany Dymond said.

The Veterans Equal Access Act is also endorsed by cannabis policy reform groups such as the National Organization for Marijuana Law Reform (NORML) and the Drug Policy Alliance, as well as representatives of the regulated cannabis industry. Saphira Garoub, executive director of the National Cannabis Roundtable, said the bill would provide new treatment options for veterans in states that have legalized medical marijuana.

“It is unconscionable for veterans to be denied equal access to all medical care and options available to all adults in all 37 other states with medical cannabis programs,” Garrove said. said in a statement from the industry association. “Veterans physicians must be allowed to discuss medical marijuana and provide recommendations on state law programs to serving veterans. We thank you for your dedication to moving this important step forward, and the NCR is honored to be present at today’s announcement and to support this long-awaited bipartisan bill.”

The Veterans Equal Access Act has been referred to the House Veterans Affairs Committee for further consideration.The full text of the bill has been published online.


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