A new military spending bill may come with two progressive strings attached to it: Federal permission for military veterans to consume medical cannabis, along with a ban on home-loan denials from the VA.
Proposed by Sen. Brian Schatz (D-HI), one amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) would allow military veterans to possess and consume medical cannabis, so long as they reside in a state where medical weed is legal and they've got a doctor signing off on it, Marijuana Moment reported.
The National Defense Authorization Act is a major federal bill passed annually by Congress. It establishes the US Department of Defense budget for the following fiscal year. Since it always passes, attaching amendments such as Schatz’s is an excellent way to push new regulations through DC without having to introduce a standalone bill.
However, Schatz’s amendment does, in fact, replicate language from a separate, standalone bill. That bill is the Veterans Medical Marijuana Safe Harbor Act, which Schatz, unsurprisingly, has sponsored.
Sens. Cynthia Lummis (R-WY) and Jacky Rosen (D-NV) have introduced another NDAA amendment to support veterans in the cannabis industry. This bipartisan amendment clarifies a Department of Veterans Affairs policy regarding home loans. While the VA says it does not deny lucrative housing loans or home loan benefits for veterans who work with weed, the amendment would officially ban loan denials simply because the veteran works in the cannabis industry.
Just three years ago, stories came out about the VA denying home loan benefits to veterans in the cannabis industry. For instance, one Massachusetts-based veteran said the VA denied him a home loan, citing his job as an assistant manager at a local pot shop.
Meanwhile, guys like former Republican Speaker of the House John Boehner can run a top pot investment firm while enjoying all of his government-funded retirement benefits, no questions asked.
While these two new NDAA amendments are long overdue, there’s a chance lawmakers may gut them from the final version of the spending bill. And removing these amendments would be a tragedy: What’s the point of fighting for our nation’s freedom if its veterans can’t live freely, too?
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