Congress Disrespects Veterans Again


Despite the best efforts of Congressman Earl Blumenauer, the United States House of Representatives narrowly voted against a measure that would have allowed Veterans Administration doctors to recommend medical cannabis in states where the medicine is legal. When there is an epidemic of veteran suicides, it is shameful that Congress won’t allow VA doctors to recommend a safe medicine to those that have sacrificed so much for our country. The vote fell just a few votes short as there were 210 votes in favor and 213 against.  As an Oregonian, I am proud of the fact that 4/5 of the state delegation (all Democrats) voted for the measure while only one, Republican Greg Walden, voted against. The Oregonian reports:

Blumenauer, who sponsored the same measure last year, came closer this time. He lost by just three votes as the House decided 210-213 against his amendment to a bill that includes VA funding.

“The medical marijuana train has left the station,” the Democrat told opponents on the House floor. “A million Americans have a legal right to use medical marijuana and do so.  You want to treat veterans differently.”

Blumenauer argued that many veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder and other conditions are prescribed painkillers that at higher-than-average rates lead to addiction and overdose deaths. “Nobody dies from an overdose of marijuana,” he said.

In good news, the vote shows that the failed war on marijuana is losing steam, as this vote improved from the 195-225 vote that occurred previously. The vote garnered 35 Republican votes this session, up from 22 last year. Day by day, year by year, vote by vote, until we are all free.

Anthony Johnson

Anthony, a longtime cannabis law reform advocate, was Chief Petitioner and co-author of Measure 91, Oregon's cannabis legalization effort. He served as director of both the New Approach Oregon and Vote Yes on 91 PACs, the political action committees responsible for the state's legalization campaign. As director of New Approach Oregon, Anthony continues to work towards effectively implementing the cannabis legalization system while protecting small business owners and the rights of patients. He sits on the Oregon Marijuana Rules Advisory Committee and fights for sensible rules at the legislature as well as city councils and county commissions across the state. Anthony helps cannabis business comply with Oregon's laws and advises advocates across the country. He also serves as content director of both the International Cannabis Business Conference and the Oregon Marijuana Business Conference, helping share the vision of moving the cannabis industry forward in a way that maintains the focus on keeping people out of prison and protecting patients. He was a member of the Oregon Health Authority Rules Advisory Committee, assisting the drafting of the administrative rules governing Oregon’s state-licensed medical marijuana facilities. He first co-authored and helped pass successful marijuana law reform measures while a law student at the University of Missouri-Columbia School of Law. He passed the Oregon Bar in 2005 and practiced criminal defense for two years before transitioning to working full-time in the political advocacy realm. His blogs on Marijuana Politics are personal in nature and don't speak for or reflect the opinions of any group or organization.