June 29, 2016
A lot of times, if something seems too good to be true, it probably is. That was the case with a proposal that would have let doctors at the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) prescribe medical marijuana to veterans.
It looked like the proposal was close to becoming law, but Congress removed it at the last minute from the VA’s annual budget.
The legislation, which had been sponsored by Oregon lawmakers, had cleared the House and Senate but was axed on June 22 during final closed-door negotiations. Had it passed, the bill would have cleared the way for the VA to recommend medical cannabis to patients in states where it has been legalized.
In a joint statement released June 24, Rep. Earl Blumenauer and Sen. Jeff Merkley, both Democrats from Oregon, said it was “outrageous” that the proposal was pulled from the bill.
“To add insult to injury, the legislation was released in the middle of the night, not even giving members of the House an opportunity to review the language before voting on it.”
House Republicans brought the stripped version of the bill up for vote on the night of June 23 while attention was focused on the Democrats’ sit-in for gun control legislation.