Representative Greg Steube (R-FL) is leading a bipartisan amendment to the 2024 Military Construction, Veterans Affairs, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act providing protections to veterans who use medical cannabis.
According to the Veterans Affairs website, while veterans will not be denied benefits for medical cannabis use, VA doctors cannot prescribe, recommend, or provide any assistance in obtaining medical cannabis.
As a result, the amendment would allow VA doctors to make these recommendations and aid veterans in complying with state medical cannabis programs, nor can veterans be denied any services the Department of Veterans Affairs provides for participating in those programs.
Rep. Steube said in his press release that he has "been working on legislation for years in Congress to ensure veterans receive the care they deserve."
"I’ve been working on legislation for years in Congress to ensure veterans receive the care they deserve. For some veterans, that care can include medicinal cannabis use. The VA should not preclude a veteran from benefits if they use legal products in their state. This is a bipartisan issue, and I’m hopeful my colleagues on both sides of the aisle will support my amendment," said Rep. Steube.
Representative Matt Gaetz (R-FL), who is one of the amendment's cosponsors, had called for the end of cannabis testing in military recruits earlier in July, saying the current recruitment crisis should not preclude previous users. In fact, they should be welcomed "for stepping up to serve our country."
"Our military is facing a recruitment and retainment crisis unlike any other time in American history. I do not believe that prior use of cannabis should exclude Americans from enlisting in the armed forces. We should embrace them for stepping up to serve our country," said Rep. Gaetz.
In April, Representative Brian Mast (R-FL) introduced a bill allowing cannabis users to purchase firearms, citing usage of medical cannabis among veterans as a motivating factor.
"No veteran that I know wants to be forced to choose between a viable treatment option for conditions like PTSD, and the ability to protect themselves and their families," said Rep. Mast.