GOP lawmakers kill medical marijuana legislation for VA (video)

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An amendment sponsored by an Oregon Democrat lawmaker was blocked by Republicans in the House Rules Committee on Wednesday that would have allowed Veterans Affairs doctors to prescribe medical marijuana as a treatment for pain.

The proposal was sponsored by Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore.), who expressed bitter disappointment that it didn’t succeed.

The proposed amendment, titled “Veterans Equal Access,” would have only applied in states where marijuana is legal and had been attached to the VA funding bill for next year. It would have allowed VA doctors to offer interested patients the opportunity to participate in state medical marijuana programs through the VA.

McClatchy reported there is still a chance the provision could be approved, as the Senate’s 2810 Military Construction and Veterans Affairs Appropriations bill includes a similar amendment.

Blumenauer said his proposal was supported by nine Democrats and nine Republicans, but said, “Somehow, the House Rules Committee decided it wasn’t going to allow this amendment.”

“This is a subject that has gained a great deal more attention and momentum. More people recognize that the VA has really failed our veterans when it has come to pain management, opioids, and opioid dependency,” Blumenauer said.

Instead, the amendment was blocked, preventing it from moving on to the House floor for debate.

Effective July 1, Nevada became the latest state to legalize recreational marijuana, joining Colorado, Oregon, Washington, and Alaska. Days later, Nevada declared a “state of emergency” as stores were already running out of pot because “sales far exceeded the industry’s expectations.”

Blumenauer has long fought for medical marijuana rights, even including the issue in his campaign ads in 2014.

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