The House Rules Committee on Monday rejected bipartisan spending bill amendments aimed at advancing veterans’ access to medical cannabis on procedural grounds.
Another proposal that would allow protections for individuals who use marijuana in federally assisted public housing was removed before the panel was able to vote on it.
The committee members had many disputes, among which was the disagreement over whether it is suitable to push for the policy reforms via spending legislation. Rep. Dave Joyce (R-Oh) tried to defend the intent, for which purpose he even revised the amendment after discussing it with the House Parliamentarian.
The submitted version of the amendment would ban the US Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to use its resources to demand certain policies blocking VA physicians from recommending medical marijuana to veterans. The measure wouldn’t oblige VA to allocate money in a specific way or to change its rules, but it would have forbidden it to spend its money to push for certain marijuana policies.
The news comes on the heels of a package of bills being approved by the House as part of the National Defense Authorization Act. Reps. Earl Blumenauer and Brian Mast’s amendment codifies the ability of VA doctors to discuss and recommend medical marijuana to veterans.