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Monday, December 09, 2019 {{ new Date().getDay() }}

Reprinted with permission from AlterNet.

Republicans on the House Rules Committee successfully stopped Veterans Affairs doctors from being allowed to recommend medical marijuana in states where the treatment is legal.

The  “Veterans Equal Access” amendment will not move to debate on the House floor. GOP lawmakers wouldn’t allow it to be included in the House’s proposed VA funding bill for next year, effectively killing it.

Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR), who sponsored the amendment, told McClatchy that veterans have been “failed” by the VA on pain management issues. He referenced opioid addiction, which can occur due to opiate-derived medications prescribed for chronic pain management.

Blumenauer correctly pointed out that his amendment had bipartisan support. “But somehow the House Rules Committee decided it wasn’t going to allow this amendment,” he added.

Federal law still considers all marijuana consumption to be illegal. This prohibits VA doctors from recommending medical marijuana. If veterans want to use medical marijuana, they have to go outside the VA system. This incurs high out-of-pocket cost for veterans needing the pain treatment.

A Senate finance bill contains the medical marijuana provision, so approval of marijuana treatment is still possible.

For now, veterans cannot receive medical marijuana through the VA, even in states that offer it legally to other residents.

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President Joe Biden

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Two tiresome realities about being president of the United States: first, everybody blames you for things over which you have little or no control: such as the worldwide price of oil, and international shipping schedules. Should there be too few electronic gee-gaws on store shelves to pacify American teenagers this Christmas, it will be Joe Biden’s fault.

Second, everybody gives you advice, whether you ask for it or not. Everywhere you look, Democrats and Democratically-inclined pundits are tempted to panic. “The cold reality for Biden,” writes New York Magazine’s Jonathan Chait “is that his presidency is on the brink of failure.” A return to Trumpism, and essentially the end of American democracy, strikes Chait as altogether likely.

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