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By Paul Armentano, NORML Deputy Director

Members of the US House of Representatives voted today for the first time to expand military veterans’ access to medicinal cannabis in states that allow it.

Members voted 233 to 189 in favor of the Veterans Equal Access Amendment, offered by Rep. Blumenauer (D-OR) to the Fiscal Year 2017 Military Construction, Veterans Affairs and Related Agencies Appropriations bill, that prohibits the federal government from sanctioning V.A. physicians who wish to recommend cannabis therapy to their patients.

“We should not be limiting the treatment options available to our veterans,” Rep. Blumenauer opined on the House floor.

Under the provision, military veterans who reside in states with active medical marijuana programs would be able to obtain a recommendation from their V.A. physician rather than having to seek out a private doctor.

The vote is a marked change from last year, when House members defeated a similar amendment 213 to 210.

You can watch today’s debate and vote here. A roll call of the amendment vote is here.

Members of the US Senate Appropriations Committee previously voted in April in favor of a similar provision. This afternoon, legislation containing the amendment was approved on the Senate floor.

The House and Senate versions of FY 2017 Military Construction, Veterans Affairs and Related Agencies Appropriations bill will now await a concurrence vote prior to being sent to the President.

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