House Rules Committee Expected to Block Veterans Equal Access Amendment for MMJ

June 6, 2018 – Veteran access to cannabis is being block, once again, by Republicans in the House Rules Committee. They are expected to block Oregon Congressman Earl Blumenauer’s Veterans Equal Access amendment, which would place into law protections for veterans who qualify to access medical marijuana in the legal cannabis states they live in. They are expected to vote today at 3:00pm EST.

We received a notice this morning from Nicole L’Esperance, Rep. Blumenauer’s communications director:

I wanted to alert you that today at3PM (ET)the House Rules Committee will meet to decide which amendments can be offered to VA funding legislation being considered on the House floor this week.

We anticipate that, like last year, House Republican leadership—led by Rules Committee Chairman Pete Sessions—will once again turn their backs on our veterans and block Congressman Blumenauer’s Veterans Equal Access amendment, which makes it easier for qualified veterans to access state-legal medical marijuana.

If that’s the case, the decision will go against the call from veterans across the country who want fair and equal access to medical marijuana—an often safer and less addictive alternative to opioids. This amendment also has broad bipartisan support in Congress and would pass if the House had the opportunity to vote on it.

I’ve included additional background below and will keep you updated. If you have any questions, please let me know.

Thank you,

Nicole L’Esperance
Communications Director
Office of Congressman Earl Blumenauer (OR-03)

Background on the Veterans Equal Access amendment.

Currently, the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) specifically prohibits its medical providers from completing forms allowing a qualified veteran to participate in a state medical marijuana program. This forces veterans out of the VA system to seek a simple recommendation for treatment for eligible conditions under state laws.

This week, the House will consider the FY 2018 Military Construction, Veterans Affairs and Related Agencies Appropriations bill. Congressman Earl Blumenauer plans to offer—unless blocked by House Republican leadership—his Veterans Equal Access amendment, which ensures that no funds made available to the VA can be used to implement this prohibition, which would, in effect, strike it down. Last year, the amendment was blocked by Rules Committee Chairman Pete Sessions. In 2016, the amendment passed on the House floor by 233-189, but was ultimately stripped out of the final legislation that became law.

The Veterans Equal Access Amendment is co-sponsored by Reps. Justin Amash (R-MI), Barbara Lee (D-CA), Carlos Curbelo (R-FL), Joseph Crowley (D-NY), Matthew Gaetz (R-FL), Dina Titus (D-NV), Walter Jones (R-NC), Steve Cohen (D-TN), Tom McClintock (R-CA), Lou Correa (D-CA), Tom Reed (R-NY), Ed Perlmutter (D-CO), Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA), Mark Pocan (D-WI), Donald Young (R-AK), Peter DeFazio (D-OR), and Mark Sanford (R-SC).

OCC Staff

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