The U.S. Senate gave an easy thumbs-up this week to a bill that would – among many other things – allow doctors at the Department of Veterans Affairs to write recommendations that veterans could use to purchase medical marijuana.
The Military Construction, Veterans Affairs, and Related Agencies (MilConVA) measure was approved by a vote of 82-15 on Wednesday, Marijuana Moment reported, and a similar bill was approved earlier this year by the U.S. House.
But because the two parallel bills have different provisions, they’ll still have to be reconciled by a conference committee prior to going to President Joe Biden for his signature. The conference committee process has been used in the past to kill similar attempts to liberalize the VA medical process for veterans seeking cannabis.
“Veterans face too many roadblocks in getting the care they need and deserve. That’s why I have consistently led an effort to ensure VA doctors are able to discuss the full range of legal treatment options with their patients,” U.S. Sen. Jeff Merkley, a prime sponsor of the veterans cannabis bill, told Marijuana Moment. “Outdated laws should never censor veterans’ doctor-patient relationships.”
The approval is the latest victory on cannabis reform, as both Congress and more states continue to incrementally walk back marijuana prohibition.