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Senate Panel Set To Vote On Veterans Marijuana Research Bill This Week

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A U.S. Senate committee is scheduled to vote on a bill to promote cannabis research for military veterans this week.

The VA Medicinal Cannabis Research Act, which is intended to mandate studies by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to explore the therapeutic potential of cannabis for veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and chronic pain, is on the agenda for a Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee business meeting on Thursday.

The bill is being sponsored by panel Chairman Jon Tester (D), along with Sen. Dan Sullivan (R).

If the legislation is approved it will be the first time a U.S. Senate committee has marked up a standalone marijuana reform bill.

A congressional source close to the negotiations told Marijuana Moment that a House companion version will also be introduced this week.

Key revisions from prior versions of the legislation appear to give the department significant leeway to determine for itself whether it’s capable of conducting clinical trials and, if so, how to carry them out. The significant change appears to be responsive to concerns expressed by VA officials who testified against the earlier proposals.

“The text of both the Senate and House versions of the bills is expected to be identical to maximize the possibility of passage through both chambers,” a House source told Marijuana Moment last week.

Rep. Lou Correa (D-CA) carried the legislation in past sessions. During the last Congress, the GOP prime sponsor was then-Rep. Peter Meijer (R-MI).