In June of this year, the United States Senate overwhelmingly passed a bill to fund the Veterans Affairs administration for fiscal year 2019 by a vote of 85-5.
Included in that funding package was specific language that would prohibit the VA from using any time, money, or other resources to investigate or go after doctors who write medical marijuana recommendations for our vets in states that have legalized the medical use of the cannabis plant.
The bill then needed approval in the U.S. House of Representatives, but as has continually happened with these cannabis reform laws for our vets in need, Conservative Republican hypocrites in Congress refused to allow that language protecting government doctors and military veterans.
Because Republicans have had control of the House since 2011, our vets have been suffering through countless conditions and dangerous pharmaceutical medications, many of which could be safely avoided by allowing them to legally use medical marijuana. In that same time frame, our civilian society has undergone such an amazing transformation when it comes to cannabis acceptance and understanding, but a group of bought-and-paid-for right wing politicians has kept our vets left out of that progress.
We first reported on this story in June, when the Republicans originally blocked the VA funding vote based on the pro-MMJ stance laid out by the proposed bill.
Since then, a dual-chamber panel was tasked with finding a way to merge the House and Senate bills into one final piece of legislation for the president to sign.
That final legislation was released yesterday and as noted above, it does not contain so much as a whisper about MMJ reform for the VA.
This most recent charade is a perfect example of how shallow, and petty these politicians are. They flexed their majority to ensure that their colleagues were not even able to cast a vote on this latest VA funding bill until the MMJ language was completely stripped from it.
House Democrats have been expressing their outrage over this cowardly move by their Republican counterparts. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI) told Marijuana Moment, “Our veterans put their lives on the line for our country, and many come home dealing with visible and invisible wounds. To continue limiting their access to quality healthcare through the VA is a disservice to them and the sacrifices they’ve made.”
When Republicans win, veterans lose.
Almost the exact same scenario went down in 2016. Bipartisan bills were drafted in both the House and Senate that would allow VA doctors to write MMJ recs for their patients, but again due to differences in how they were written, the bills were sent to a conference committee for reconciliation. Instead, GOP power players killed both bills behind closed doors.
These dirtbags wrap themselves in the flag to talk shit about protestors and continually hide those shouts from behind some fake support for “the troops”. Then, when given opportunities to actually support those troops, they fold like a lawn chair every damn time.
Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) sums it up perfectly in a tweet from yesterday:
VOTE REPUBLICANS OUT, COAST TO COAST, IN NOVEMBER