Rep. Cisneros Praises Passage of Bipartisan Proposal for Veteran, State-Approved Medical Marijuana Use

March 12, 2020
Press Release

WASHINGTON, DC - Today, Representative Gilbert R. Cisneros, Jr. (CA-39) praised the passage of his bipartisan amendment to ensure veterans have access to state-approved medical marijuana programs. The amendment, co-introduced with Rep. Greg Steube (FL-17), pulled language from their bill, H.R. 2191, the Veterans Cannabis Use for Safe Healing Act. The House Veterans’ Affairs Committee passed the Amendment in the Nature of a Substitute (ANS) to Rep. Luis Correa’s (CA-46) H.R. 712, the VA Medicinal Cannabis Research Act of 2019. Rep. Cisneros is also a co-sponsor to Rep. Correa’s bill.

“Our veterans deserve holistic care, and that means providing them with every possible effective treatment, including the use of medical marijuana,” said Rep. Cisneros. “If a state has a medical marijuana program and their doctor believes it’s the best form of treatment, our veterans should have access. Congress needs to do more to help our courageous veterans get the treatment they need. As a Navy Veteran, I’m proud to work with Congressman Steube on this amendment to increase veteran access to medical marijuana and be a cosponsor of the VA Medicinal Cannabis Research Act and support VA medical marijuana and veterans research.”

“Through procedural action in today’s House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs hearing, I was able to get an important proposal passed that will ensure veterans who are participating in state-approved medical marijuana programs are not denied their VA benefits,” said Congressman Steube following the passage of the amendment and the bill. “I think what happened today was an excellent example of bipartisanship and working together to serve America’s veterans. Though my bill did not receive a vote in this committee, Republicans and Democrats worked together to pass this amendment to ensure this important proposal is enacted. At the end of the day, it does not matter whose name is on the bill, as long as we are creating good policy that gets our veterans the care they deserve.” 

The amendment will codify Veterans Health Administration (VHA) Directive 1315, Access to VHA Clinical Programs for Veterans Participating in State-Approved Marijuana Programs, which currently protects veterans from being denied benefits based on participation in state-approved medical marijuana programs. This bill will only apply to veterans living and receiving care in states that have approved the use of marijuana for medical purposes.

The bill, with Cisneros and Steube’s included amendment, now moves on for consideration by the full House.