U.S. Rep. Greg Steube Introduces Bipartisan Amendment to Provide Protections for Military Veterans Using Medical Cannabis
WASHINGTON — U.S. Representative Greg Steube (R-Fla.) introduced an amendment to provide protections for military veterans using medical cannabis for the Fiscal Year (FY) 2024 Military Construction, Veterans Affairs, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act.
The amendment is cosponsored by Representatives Nancy Mace (R-S.C.), Dina Titus (D-Nev.), Steve Cohen (D-Tenn.), Jimmy Panetta (D-Calif.), and Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.). It is supported by the Coalition for Cannabis Policy, Education, and Regulation (CPEAR).
“I’ve been working on legislation for years in Congress to ensure veterans receive the care they deserve. For some veterans, that care can include medicinal cannabis use. The VA should not preclude a veteran from benefits if they use legal products in their state. This is a bipartisan issue, and I’m hopeful my colleagues on both sides of the aisle will support my amendment,” said Rep. Steube.
The amendment states that none of the funds appropriated or otherwise made available to the Department of Veterans Affairs in this Act may be used in a manner that would:
1) Interfere with the ability of a veteran to participate in a medicinal marijuana program approved by a State;
2) Deny any services from the Department to a veteran who is participating in such a program; or
3) Limit or interfere with the ability of a health care provider of the Department to make appropriate recommendations, fill out forms, or take steps to comply with such a program.
“Supporting our veterans means ensuring their well-being and access to the best possible healthcare options. This amendment will provide vital protections for military veterans who choose to utilize medical cannabis as a viable treatment option. It is time we acknowledge the potential benefits of this alternative therapy and empower our veterans to make informed decisions about their healthcare. Let us honor their sacrifice by embracing compassion, innovation, and the pursuit of a better quality of life for those who have served our nation,” said Rep. Mace.
“Right now VA providers can’t prescribe or even recommend the use of medical marijuana for veterans who may be struggling. Whether it’s my legislation to promote the academic study of cannabis or support for the use of medical marijuana through the VA system, I’m working to make sure doctors can provide the best care possible to the men and women who’ve given so much to our country,” said Rep. Titus.
“As a country, we bear an obligation to honor the sacrifices made by our veterans and must provide them with every avenue to access the appropriate care they deserve,” said Andrew Freedman, the Executive Director of the Coalition for Cannabis Policy, Education, and Regulation. “Today’s amendment seeks to ensure the steadfast involvement of U.S. veterans in critical medical initiatives, including medical cannabis trials, while safeguarding their benefits from any adverse effects. We thank Representative Steube for his leadership on this issue and dedication to ensuring America’s veterans receive the proper care to treat the invisible wounds of war.”
The Military Construction, Veterans Affairs, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act funds the planning, construction, and improvements to facilities used worldwide by our military personnel. The package funds veterans health care programs, benefits, and VA programs. It also supports related agency needs including the creation and maintenance of military cemeteries and battlefield monuments.