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BY: NATALIE FERTIG
The road for veterans’ cannabis research — and potentially control of the Senate — runs through Montana.
Sen. Jon Tester (D-Mont.) is the lead author of a bill to increase research into cannabis for veterans. He’s also one of the Senate’s most at-risk Democrats, running in a state Donald Trump won by 16 percentage points in 2020.
Fellow Montana Sen. Steve Daines, as chair of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, is charged with ousting Tester.
The Montana Senate election and cannabis policy collided on the Senate floor in April, when a package of five veterans bills — built around Tester’s VA Medicinal Cannabis Research Act — was unexpectedly blocked by Republicans. The bills were widely supported in committee and the package included legislation introduced by both Republicans and Democrats.
If the package passed, it would have made VA home loans directly available to Native Americans, made changes to improve veterans health care programs, and instructed the VA to research cannabis use for conditions like PTSD and chronic pain.