Steube Introduces the Bipartisan Veterans Cannabis Use for Safe Healing Act
WASHINGTON, D.C.—Today, Congressman Greg Steube (R-Fla.) introduced the Veterans Cannabis Use for Safe Healing Act to prohibit the Secretary of Veterans Affairs from denying a veteran benefits due to the use of medical marijuana in states where the substance is legal. Congressman Gilbert Cisneros, Jr. (D-Calif.) joined Steube in introducing this bipartisan legislation.
“As a veteran, I’m committed to ensuring that veterans receive the care they deserve, and I know that sometimes that care can include medical marijuana,” said Congressman Steube following the introduction of the bill. “Receiving the appropriate treatment to address your health care needs—using products that are legal in the state in which you live—should not preclude you from your Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) benefits.”
The bill will codify Veterans Health Administration (VHA) Directive 1315, Access to VHA Clinical Programs for Veterans Participating in State-Approved Marijuana Programs, which currently protects veterans from being denied benefits based on participation in state-approved medical marijuana programs. This bill will only apply to veterans living and receiving care in states that have approved the use of marijuana for medical purposes.
“It’s important that we respect states’ rights as outlined in the 10th Amendment of the United States Constitution. While it is the current policy of the VA to not deny benefits to veterans based on participation in these state-based medical marijuana programs, this bill will ensure that no future policy or administration change could put these veterans at risk of losing their benefits when they are in compliance with state law,” continued Steube. “It also allows VA staff to help veterans fill out the forms necessary to enroll in a state-approved program instead of having to rely on a private physician. This makes things easier for veterans who are in desperate need of these medical options.”
Congressman Greg Steube is a former Army JAG Officer and served in Operation Iraqi Freedom. He serves on the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee.