Posted on

The Veterans Equal Access Bill has been struck down by Congressional Republicans in theHouse Rules Committee, which prevented the bill from even coming to vote.

The intention of the Veterans Equal Access Bill was to allow VA doctors to discuss and recommend medical marijuana to their veteran patients. Despite growing support both from Republican ranks and service members and veteran support organizations, with more veterans than ever before supporting cannabis as an alternative treatment to opioids. Veterans are part of the lethal opioid crisis wracking the country,

Veterans are part of the lethal opioid crisis wracking the country since many suffer with chronic pain stemming from their service and are frequently prescribed opioid medications to manage that pain. Opioids are highly habit-forming, and patients can become dependent on stronger and stronger opioids to manage their pain, as efficacy wanes. If the prescription isn’t renewed, opioid-dependent patients will often resort to illegal sources of substance. Cannabis has been shown by research and significant anecdotal evidence to be effective for treating chronic pain and PTSD and other service-related conditions, while not being habit-forming in the way opioids are, and can even help people who are suffering from opioid addiction.

This all makes the choice to strike down the bill to be especially egregious. “All we want is equal treatment for our wounded warriors,” Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR), who founded the Congressional Cannabis Caucus, said in a statement. “It’s outrageous that the Rules Committee won’t even allow a vote for our veterans. They deserve better. They deserve compassion, The Veterans Equal Access Bill provided that.”

Would such a measure have passed if it made it to the floor? Some seem to think so. Not only are multiple Republicans actively campaigning for medical marijuana legalization and even federal re-scheduling of the drug, but veterans organizations are also more in support than they have been in previous years.