By now the majority of you who follow Illegally Healed probably know, or have at least heard about the recent removal of the Veterans Equal Access Amendment from the 2017 Military Construction & VA Appropriations Bill.
Congressman Earl Blumenauer of Oregon has been a champion of this legislation, and has as a result of years of hard work on behalf of our Nation’s Veterans, built up a bipartisan coalition of lawmakers who voted for it in both the House and Senate.
This bill would have provided Veterans like Brandon Ketchum, a former Marine who killed himself last weekend after being denied treatment at the VA, the opportunity to speak openly with their VA physicians about the pros and cons of medicinal cannabis.
If, after concluding that cannabis was a viable option, Brandon could have then received a recommendation from his VA physician to use cannabis. However, living in Iowa, a state where cannabis is still very much illegal, he would have been left to fend for himself on the black market. Nobody has claimed this amendment is perfect, it’s a start.
With the vote going the way it did, with such strong bipartisan support, nobody anticipated a lone radical Republican striking this critical amendment from the bill in the middle of the night behind closed doors.
Now, Democratic policymakers in DC are refusing to sign the bill and are encouraging their colleagues to follow suit. One Congressman has been especially supportive of our efforts reverse this recent action against Veterans, I heard from his DC office yesterday: “Wanted to let you know that I raised this issue with Ms. Pelosi’s staff and asked that they also push for this in any final legislation. As a reminder, we really need the Republicans on board as they are the ones that have pulled the language out of the bill.” – Kelsey H. Mishkin | Legislative Director, Congressman Raul Grijalva, (D-AZ).
The powers that be would like for us to go back out there, storm the Hill, and build another coalition of Republican lawmakers to get another bite at the apple.
Veterans and supporters alike are shaking their heads asking themselves why they should attempt to work within this rigged system any longer. After enduring years of contentious political engagement, persistence from the Veteran community resulting only in the removal of the Veterans Equal Access Amendment at the last minute, and the Veteran suicide & overdose epidemic continuously ignored and pushed aside by “public servants” who could care less; what incentive is there?
Why must we be the ones to agin bear the burden of building up a puppet coalition of Republican lawmakers who apparently have no real power or authority within their party? The Republicans who voted with our Democratic leadership should be the ones coalition building at this point and time. They’re the ones who should be up in arms along with the Veteran community about this injustice, demanding answers from their Republican colleagues who sabotaged their voting process and so blatantly spit in the face of everything this country was founded upon, everything the Veterans fought for.
No more politics. We require action.
The politicians in DC now have the full attention of the Veteran community.
Who’s with us?
This is a call to action we received from our Friends over at the Drug Policy Alliance (DPA). Please read and follow the provided instructions, afterward, please also share with your friends and encourage them to do the same.
Cheers to the Fallen, Rest Easy.
Suggested Call Script:
“I understand that an amendment allowing veterans to access medical marijuana was recently removed from a VA funding bill, despite being approved by the House and Senate. This issue is particularly important to me, so please respect the will of the people and make sure it is re-inserted into the final version of this funding bill.”
(202) 224-2541 @SenateMajLdr
(202) 225-3031 @SpeakerRyan
(202) 224-2854 @SenatorKirk
(202) 224-5054 @SenThadCochran
(202) 225-6411 @RepCharlieDent
(202) 225-4965 @NancyPelosi
(202) 224-3542 @SenatorReid
(202) 224-4654 @SenatorBarb
(202) 225-6506 @NitaLowey