High Hopes Dashed for Pot Amendment That Passed House and Senate

Article by Steven Nelson, US News


Congress has offered the public an unusual civics lesson: A piece of legislation can pass both houses of Congress and never reach the president’s desk – and veterans seeking easier access to medical marijuana aren’t amused.

The House and Senate in quick succession passed a spending package Wednesday that will keep the government fully funded through Dec. 9., but lost in the hubbub was the fact that a popular amendment already passed by both chambers was missing.

When President Barack Obama signed the package on Thursday, it did not include a measure that would allow Veterans Health Administration doctors to fill out the forms necessary for veterans to acquire marijuana in states that allow its medical use.

In its final form, the spending package that passed Wednesday included the fiscal 2017 military construction and Veterans Affairs spending bill, to which the amendment had been attached before being abruptly stripped by a bicameral conference committee.

The Veterans Affairs’ and military appropriations had passed the House and Senate in slightly different forms earlier this year as party leaders fought over the level of funding to address the Zika virus. But each chamber separately included the veterans marijuana amendment.

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