Merkley Joins Montana Senator Daines on Bipartisan Amendment Letting VA Doctors Recommend Medical Marijuana to Veterans

WASHINGTON, DC –Today, the Senate Appropriations Committee passed an amendment to the Veterans Administration funding bill led by Senators Steve Daines (R-MT) and Jeff Merkley (D-OR) that would allow Veterans Health Administration (VA) doctors to discuss and make recommendations about the use of medical marijuana with their patients. Under current regulations, VA doctors are prohibited from completing forms seeking recommendations or opinions regarding a Veteran’s participation in a State marijuana program.  In practice, VA doctors generally won’t even discuss the use of medical marijuana with their patients. 

“It’s outrageous that VA doctors are barred from offering treatment to veterans in their care about the potential medical use of marijuana,” said Merkley.  “We should be doing everything we can to make life easier for our veterans.  Prohibiting VA doctors from talking to their patients about medical marijuana just doesn’t make sense.  This is a common sense amendment and I’m glad it has been passed out of committee with bipartisan support.”

In 2011, the Veterans Health Administration issued a directive prohibiting VA doctors from allowing patients to consult them about medical marijuana use. This directive forces veterans to seek a medical appointment outside of the VA when seeking recommendations for State medical marijuana programs