Republicans Reject Bill Amendment to let Veterans Affairs Doctors Recommend Cannabis
Thursday, United States House representatives rejected a proposal that would allow doctors at Department of Veterans Affairs hospitals to discuss the use of medical marijuana with patients.
The bill’s amendment was defeated by three votes, 210-213 along highly partisan lines.
The amendment was considered along with the first fiscal 2016 appropriations bill of the year, which authorizes funding for the VA and military projects.
While consistently claiming to be the party that cares more about US military veterans, only 35 Republicans voted in favor of the amendment, while eight Democrats voted against it. The Hill reported that “boos ensued from the Democratic side of the House chamber when Republicans closed the vote” as the vote failed narrowly.
The vote comes after Sunday’s surprise news from Puerto Rico Governor Alejandro García Padilla signed an executive order that will bring medical marijuana to the US territory.
Cannabis continues to languish in prohibition at the federal level due to its classification as a Schedule 1 drug under the United States Controlled Substances Act. Medical Marijuana is legal 23 states and the District of Columbia, and 14 other states are in various stages of allowing limited medical use of some compounds from the cannabis plant.
A WebMD/Medscape survey suggests that the majority of doctors think medical marijuana should be legalized as provides real benefits to patients.
A study published in the Journal of Psychoactive Drugs found “that patients in the sample reported an average of 75 percent reduction in all three areas of PTSD symptoms while using cannabis” noting improvements in anxiety, flashbacks, and depression.