Last week your political representatives in Washington, D.C. totally chickened out on important marijuana reforms.

A proposal that would have allowed Veterans Affairs doctors to recommend medical marijuana to vets was essentially blocked.

The Veterans Equal Access Amendment was stripped from the House Conference Report of the Military Construction and Veterans Affairs and Related Agencies Appropriations Act.

It had passed in the Senate Appropriations Committee and even on the House floor.

The move “is unprecedented and defies explanation,” Americans for Safe Access said in a statement.

“Blocking this amendment at the conference committee stage is an assault on democracy and those Americans who risked their lives and health to defend it,” said Michael Liszewski, Government Affairs Director of Americans for Safe Access (ASA). “It’s shocking that House Appropriations Committee Chairman Hal Rogers would allow a veterans health care provision that won by wide margins in a Senate committee and on the House floor to be stripped from the bill behind closed doors.”

Another sensible, bipartisan proposal on marijuana was nixed.

The House Rules Committee blocked debate and voting on the so-called Heck-Perlmutter amendment, which would have prevented tax dollars from being used to crack down on banks that do business with dispensaries and other state-legal pot businesses.

“Bipartisan majorities in the House and the Senate have supported the commonsense, compassionate ideas that law-abiding cannabis businesses shouldn’t be forced into dangerous all-cash operations, and that veterans who have put themselves in harm’s way for our country should be able to learn about how medical marijuana could help them deal with the physical and psychological aftermath of their sacrifices,” said Aaron Smith, executive director of the the National Cannabis Industry Association (NCIA).

“It was deeply disappointing to see those policies blocked behind closed doors this week,” hes said. “Given American voters’ overwhelming support of medical marijuana access, and the critical public safety issues caused by cannabis businesses’ lack of bank access, we call on lawmakers to stand up for their constituents and work to get these majority-supported provisions restored in the final budget.”

About The Author

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Raul Duke has been working as a journalist in Southern California for two decades. The medical marijuana juggernaut is one of his many beats. He’s a longtime Westside resident who needs to renew his doctor’s recommendation soon. If you have news tips, reach out: raul@the420times.com

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