Senators, Including Feinstein, Approve Amendment Allowing Vets to Use Medical Marijuana

Veterans who met with Sen. Feinstein's staffers in March along with California NORML.

On May 21, 2015, the Senate Appropriations committee voted 18-12 to approve the following amendment to HR 2029, the Military Construction and Veterans Affairs and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2016:

Sec. 246. 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 State-approved medicinal marijuana program;

(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.

California Senator Dianne Feinstein, in her first-ever vote in favor of medical marijuana, joined all fellow Democrats and four Republicans on the committee in voting yes. Thank Senator Feinstein for supporting veterans' rights.

Cal NORML was in the hearing room for the vote, having flown in to DC for NORML's Legislative Lobbying Day. Alterted to the pending vote the day before by DPA's Bill Piper, we put the word out to our networks, asking all to call or write Senator Feinstein. Thanks to all who did!

Feinstein said in a statement, “I strongly believe more research into the potential medical benefits of marijuana — specifically cannabidiol, the non-psychoactive component — is needed, and I am working to reduce barriers to conducting that research at the federal level. In the interim, I believe doctors at VA facilities in states where medical marijuana is legal should be able to discuss the potential benefits and harms of marijuana with their patients, especially those suffering from chronic pain or terminal illnesses.”

The measure will now head to the Senate floor.

After the committee vote, Cal NORML director Dale Gieringer and deputy director Ellen Komp met with three of Feinstein's staffers, and will be following up with them on her recent letter asking about impediments to CBD and marijuana research.

Also see:

A surprising ‘yes’ vote from DiFi on medical marijuana use

Senators Approve Medical Marijuana for Veterans

Memorial Day 2015 and Medical Marijuana