GOP Senators Kill Veterans Hashish Analysis Invoice


Republicans within the U.S. Senate voted this week to dam a invoice that will have directed the Division of Veterans Affairs (VA) to conduct analysis into hashish as a therapy for continual ache and post-traumatic stress dysfunction (PTSD). In a procedural vote on Wednesday, the Senate declined to advance the Veterans Affairs Medicinal Hashish Analysis Invoice (S. 326) with a vote of 57-42, falling in need of the 60 votes wanted to proceed debate on the measure.

The bipartisan laws was launched by Montana Democrat Senator Jon Tester earlier this 12 months with co-sponsorship by Senator Dan Sullivan, a Republican from Alaska. In February, the invoice was approved by the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee with a vote throughout a closed-door session. 

Underneath the bill, the VA can be required to conduct a large-scale observational research that evaluates the security and efficacy of hashish as a therapy for PTSD and continual ache. An an identical invoice (H.R. 1003) sponsored by California Democratic Consultant Lou Correa can also be pending within the Home of Representatives, with Republican Consultant Jack Bergman signed on as a co-sponsor.

The medical research would discover the constructive and unfavorable well being outcomes of hashish use by army veterans, together with whether or not utilizing marijuana reduces using alcohol or opiates. The research would additionally examine different elements of medicinal hashish use, together with ache depth, sleep high quality, agitation, and general high quality of life. As soon as the research is full, the laws requires the VA to report again to Congress on the outcomes and the feasibility of conducting medical trials.

Vote Blocks New Analysis For Veterans’ Well being

When he launched the invoice earlier this 12 months, Tester, the chair of the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee, mentioned in a press release that the laws would give army veterans new selections to handle their well being care.

“Our nation’s veterans deserve choices with regards to treating the injuries of battle, which is why VA must have a greater understanding of how medicinal hashish performs a job of their therapeutic,” he said. “Our bipartisan invoice ensures VA is listening to the rising variety of veterans who discover crucial aid from different remedies like medicinal hashish, whereas working to empower veterans in making secure and knowledgeable selections about their well being.”

A complete of 41 GOP senators voted to dam the bipartisan invoice, with Senate Majority Chief Chuck Schumer then altering his vote to “no” with the intention to maintain the invoice alive beneath the Senate’s guidelines. 

In a social media put up, Tester wrote that “41 Senate Republicans simply selected partisan political video games over offering our nation’s veterans their hard-earned advantages and care. 41 Senate Republicans are telling the women and men who’ve defended our nation that their authorities doesn’t worth their sacrifices.”

“Not solely are they blocking VA from *researching* medicinal hashish instead therapy for veterans coping with continual ache or PTSD—they’re blocking enhancements to veterans homeownership efforts, community-based assist, outreach, and extra,” he continued. “It’s completely unacceptable.”

In a flooring speech earlier than the vote, Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee rating member Senator Jerry Moran of Kansas, one of many eight Republican senators who voted to advance the hashish invoice, mentioned the measure “is an effort to make sure that veterans aren’t doing one thing that’s dangerous to them and to assist them make an knowledgeable determination,” according to a report from the Navy Occasions.

However the senators backing the invoice on Wednesday weren’t sufficient to maintain the measure shifting ahead. GOP Senator John Cornyn of Texas mentioned that the choice to dam the hashish analysis invoice got here after “spirited debate” throughout a Senate Republican coverage lunch earlier than the vote.

Cornyn told CNN that there have been considerations amongst GOP senators concerning the methodology of the medical trial licensed by the invoice as a result of “this retrospective research can be performed strictly by volunteers who would come ahead and speak about their expertise with marijuana and PTSD,” and “it is determined by folks to self-select and we don’t understand how that will skew the outcomes.”

The senator additionally mentioned that Republicans weren’t given “assurances” that they’d be given the chance to supply amendments to the laws, including that there have been considerations about whether or not the invoice can be taken up by the Home of Representatives and the chamber’s GOP management.

Political considerations could have additionally been in play, with critics of advancing the invoice suggesting that the potential success of the laws may very well be seen as a win for Tester, an incumbent Democratic senator up for re-election in a conservative state.

Cornyn indicated that negotiation on the invoice would proceed and that the laws may very well be revived within the Senate. He defined that Wednesday’s vote was “hitting the pause button” on the measure. Schumer described the vote to cease the invoice as “regrettable,” including that he hopes efforts to resurrect the laws within the Senate at a later date are profitable.

Jeffrey M. Zucker, president of Denver-based cannabis-focused enterprise technique agency Inexperienced Lion Companions and vice chair of the Marijuana Coverage Venture board of administrators, expressed disappointment on the determination to delay motion on the Veterans Affairs Medicinal Hashish Analysis Invoice.

“I’m deeply saddened to listen to that the Senate Republicans have blocked a procedural vote to advance this invoice. It’s irritating to see how politics can stop progress on a problem that would make an enormous distinction within the lives of veterans and will actually haven’t any controversy surrounding it,” Zucker wrote in an e mail to Excessive Occasions. “Nonetheless, I’m nonetheless hopeful that lawmakers can come collectively to cross a invoice that permits analysis into medical hashish and ultimately permits veterans to take pleasure in the advantages of medical hashish. Our veterans deserve one of the best care potential, and medical hashish may present much-needed aid to these affected by continual ache, PTSD, and different circumstances. It’s time for our leaders to place apart their variations and do what’s proper for our veterans.”

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