I received the following legislative alert:
The U.S. Senate Appropriations Committee will be voting this Thursday on the a medical cannabis amendment to the FY2017 Military Construction and Veterans Affairs Appropriations bill, which sets the budget for the Veterans Health Administration (V.H.A.). Senators Jeff Merkley (D-OR) and Steve Daine (R-MT) will be introducing the Veterans Equal Access Amendment (VEAA), which would allow veterans to be able to obtain medical marijuana recommendations from their V.H.A. physician.
The Senate Appropriations Committee approved the amendment last May by a vote of 18-12, however, the amendment was not included in the final bill that was signed into law because it was narrowly defeated in the House, 210-213. The year we need it to pass in both the House and Senate again, and the Senate is taking up the bill first this year.
The policy causing the problem is known as V.H.A. Directive 2011-004. The directive creates what amounts to a “gag order” on V.H.A. physicians as they explicitly forbidden from being able to fill out recommendation forms for state medical marijuana programs or even discussing medical marijuana benefits with their veteran patients. This means that veterans who are dependent on the V.H.A. for their health care are denied equal access to state medical marijuana programs or even an honest conversation with their doctor. While Directive 2011-004 was set to expire on January 31, 2016, it remains in effect. Therefore, Congress must take action to lift the “gag order” from V.H.A. doctors and allow veterans to have access to state medical cannabis programs.
Source: Americans for Safe Access