Federal Bill to Allow Veterans Affairs Doctors to Recommend Medical Marijuana Gains 29th Sponsor

The Veterans Equal Access Act (H.R. 2431) has gained its 29th sponsor.

(Photo credit: GETTY Images).

H.R. 2431 was filed in April by US Representatives Brian Mast (R-FL) and Earl Blumenauer (D-OR), along with a coalition of 15 bipartisan cosponsors. The proposal would require the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to authorize providers to discuss medical marijuana with veterans and complete forms reflecting their best recommendations.

Under current law, physicians at the VA are prohibited from discussing marijuana with their patients, and veterans who receive care from VA facilities cannot receive the forms required to participate in medical marijuana programs – regardless of whether the state they reside in has legalized it for medical use. H.R. 2431 would change this by providing federal protection to VA doctors who discuss and recommend medical cannabis.

Since introduction, the Veterans Equal Access Act has gained 12 additional cosponsors, the newest being New York Representative Dan Goldman who signed on just last week.

“I cannot tell you how many times I’ve visited VA clinics and had veterans tell me that medical marijuana saved their life,” Rep. Blumenauer said when the bill was introduced earlier this year. “This legislation is a long overdue step that will benefit millions of our veterans who deserve equal access as their civilian counterparts to state-legal marijuana programs.”

Rep. Mast said: “As I was recovering in Walter Reed, I was put on a laundry list of prescription medications from antidepressants to opiates.  Thankfully, I was able to quit cold turkey, but there’s thousands who aren’t able. Our veteran population is facing multiple epidemics, including addiction and suicide, and we owe it to them to make sure they’ve got every tool possible in the arsenal to deal with the impacts of battle – that includes medical cannabis.”

The Veterans Equal Access Act was referred to the House Committee on Veterans Affairs, where it awaits further consideration.  The full text of the bill can be found by clicking here.

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