Merkley Wins Committee Passage of Amendment to Enable VA Providers to Discuss Medical Cannabis With Veterans

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Oregon’s U.S. Senator Jeff Merkley successfully passed an amendment to the FY 2022 Military Construction, Veterans Affairs, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act that protects veterans’ ability to discuss with VA physicians the use of medical marijuana in states where it is legal.

“We owe our veterans not just an enormous debt of gratitude, but access to the best quality health options in the world through the VA system. That means they need to be able to discuss the full range of legal treatment options with their VA providers,” said Merkley. “Outdated laws should not censor veterans’ doctor-patient relationships, and I’m hopeful that this will be the year we get this fix across the finish line and signed into law.”

The amendment would allow for parity between VA and non-VA facilities in states like Oregon that have medical marijuana programs. It does not change current laws preventing the possession or dispensing of marijuana on VA property, but simply allows veterans to discuss all options that are legally available in their state with their VA doctor. Thirty-six states, along with the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, Guam, and the U.S. Virgin Islands, have legal medical cannabis programs.

The amendment was adopted in committee by voice vote, indicating widespread support across the committee.