A powerful congressional panel is set to weigh four marijuana measures next week.

One proposal would allow military veterans to receive medical cannabis recommendations from their doctors at the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). Another would protect veterans from losing access to their VA benefits as a punishment for medical marijuana use. A third would shield VA employees who are veterans and who use marijuana in accordance with state law from being fired. And another concerns water rights for marijuana and hemp growers.

Lawmakers filed the cannabis proposals as amendments to a large-scale funding bill expected to be considered in the House next week.

But first, the Rules Committee will decide whether the measures will even be allowed to reach the floor for up-or-down votes.

That panel’s chairman, Rep. Pete Sessions (R-TX), has made a practice of blocking any and all cannabis amendments over the course of the past several years, so getting the measures to the floor where they can be considered by the full House may be a heavy lift for supporters.

But because the amendments directly concern military veterans, it may be politically more difficult than usual for Sessions to get away with crushing the marijuana measures, especially as the midterm election approaches.

Previous versions of the amendment to let VA physicians issue medical cannabis recommendations have been approved by the House and Senate, but have never been enacted into law, and Sessions’s panel has specifically blocked that measure in the past.

But the VA proposals concerning benefits protections and employment rights are new, so the chairman hasn’t specifically weighed in on them before.

Earlier this month, the Rules Committee prevented a series of hemp-related amendments to the Farm Bill from being considered.

Congress Considers Three Hemp Amendments To Farm Bill

Supporters are seeking to attach the current amendments to legislation to fund parts of the federal government for Fiscal Year 2019, namely the VA and military construction efforts, as well as energy and water programs. Also being considered as part of the bill are funds for the legislative branch.

For now, here is a look at each pending cannabis measure that will be up for debate by Rules Committee members — and potentially the full House — next week:

Allow Department of Veterans Affairs doctors to issue medical cannabis recommendations, Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR):

AMENDMENT TO DIVISION C OF RULES COMMITTEE PRINT 115–71 OFFERED BY MR. BLUMENAUER OF OREGON

At the end of division C (before the short title), insert the following:

SEC. ___. None of the funds made available by this Act may be used to implement, administer, or enforce Veterans Health Administration Directive 2011-004 (or directive of the same substance) with respect to the prohibition on ‘‘VA providers from completing forms seeking recommendations or opinions regarding a Veteran’s participation in a State marijuana program’’.

Protect military veterans from losing access to benefits for using medical cannabis, Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR):

AMENDMENT TO DIVISION C OF RULES COMMITTEE PRINT 115–71 OFFERED BY MR. BLUMENAUER OF OREGON

At the end of division C (before the short title), insert the following:

SEC. ___. (a) None of the funds made available by this Act may be used by the Secretary of Veterans Affairs to reduce or eliminate benefits provided by the Secretary to an individual pursuant to title 38, United States Code, or any other law administered by the Secretary, by reason of the individual using medical marijuana in compliance with the laws of the covered State in which the individual resides.

(b) In this section, the term ‘‘covered State’’ means Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin, Wyoming, the District of Columbia, Guam, and Puerto Rico.

Protect employment rights of veterans who work for the Department of Veterans Affairs and use marijuana in accordance with state laws, Reps. Charlie Crist (D-FL) and Earl Blumenauer (D-OR):

AMENDMENT TO DIVISION C OF RULES COMMITTEE PRINT 115–71 OFFERED BY MR. CRIST OF FLORIDA

At the end of division C (before the short title), insert the following:

SEC. ___. (a) None of the funds made available by this Act may be used by the Secretary of Veterans Affairs to deny the employment of a veteran, or take any other adverse personnel action against an employee of the Department of Veterans Affairs who is a veteran, by reason of the veteran’s off-the-job use of marijuana in compliance with the laws of the covered State in which the veteran resides.

(b) In this section, the term ‘‘covered State’’ means Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin, Wyoming, the District of Columbia, Guam, and Puerto Rico.

Protect water rights of marijuana and hemp growers, Reps. Jared Polis (D-CO), Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) and Suzanne Bonamici (D-OR):

AMENDMENT TO DIVISION A OF RULES COMMITTEE PRINT 115–71

OFFERED BY MR. POLIS OF COLORADO

At the end of division A (before the short title), insert the following:

LIMITATION ON USE OF FUNDS TO ENFORCE OR IMPLE2 MENT TEMPORARY RECLAMATION MANUAL RELEASE PEC TRMR-63

SEC. ___. None of the funds made available in this Act may be used to enforce or implement Temporary Reclamation Manual Release PEC TRMR-63.

See the original article published on Marijuana Moment below:

Congress Will Consider These Marijuana Amendments Next Week

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