Senate Appropriations Committee Passes Merkley-Daines Bipartisan Amendment Letting VA Doctors Recommend Medical Marijuana to Veterans

WASHINGTON, DC –Today, the Senate Appropriations Committee passed an amendment to the Military Construction funding bill led by Senators Jeff Merkley (D-OR) and Steve Daines (R-MT) that would allow Veterans Health Administration (VA) doctors to discuss and make recommendations about the use of medical marijuana with their patients. The amendment passed in a bipartisan 20-10 vote.

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. 

“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,” said Merkley. “The VA shouldn’t be taking legal treatment options off the table for veterans.”

The bill was voted out of committee today on a bipartisan vote. The bill will then need to be considered by the full Senate, and eventually to be merged with a counterpart bill from the U.S. House of Representatives in order to be passed by both houses and signed into law.