House Passes $81.6 Billion Veterans Affairs Bill: Includes Allowing Medical Marijuana

Thursday, June 2, 2016
By George F. Indest III, J.D., M.P.A., LL.M., Board Certified by The Florida Bar in Health Law

On May 19, 2016, a new bill was passed that would allow U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) doctors to prescribe medical marijuana to patients.  As part of the $81.6 billion budget and policy bill for military construction and the department of Veterans Affairs, this new measure would allow VA doctors to prescribe medical marijuana to their patients in states where medical marijuana is currently legal.

Treatment For Veterans.

Rep. Earl Blumenauer, first brought about this new measure citing heightened rates of depression, suicide, and opioid use and abuse among veterans.  Blumenauer urged the House to allow VA doctors to prescribe medical marijuana to their patients, despite a similar version of the amendment failed to pass on last year’s VA bill.

“It is essential that veterans be allowed to have access to this treatment if it is legal in their state,” Blumenauer said.

The Military Construction and Veterans Affairs bill, which the House voted 295-129 to pass, includes about $81.6 billion for U.S. Department of Defense construction projects, military housing, and VA administrative costs, benefits and health care. Overall, the bill adds $1.8 billion to the amount funded last year.

This is not the first time that medical marijuana has been brought up for the treatment of veterans. To read one of our previous blogs on treating post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) with medical marijuana, click here.

While this appears to be great news, where are veterans going to be able to fill such prescriptions?  Is the pharmacy in the VA Hospital or VA Clinic going to carry the medical marijuana?  This has not been made clear.  Being able to obtain a prescription when there is no place to fill it seems to just be a useless drill.

Contact Experienced Health Law Attorneys for Medical Marijuana Concerns.

The Health Law Firm attorneys can assist health care providers and facilities, such as doctors, pharmacists and pharmacies, wanting to participate in the medical marijuana industry. We can properly draft and complete the applications for registration, permitting and/or licensing, while complying with Florida law. We can also represent doctors, pharmacies and pharmacists facing proceedings brought by state regulators or agencies.

To contact the Health Law Firm, please call (407) 331-6620 and visit our website at


Macagnone, Michael. “$81.6B VA Bill Passes House, Includes Medical Marijuana OK.” Law360. (May 19, 2016). Web.

About the Author:
George F. Indest III, J.D., M.P.A., LL.M., is Board Certified by The Florida Bar in Health Law. He is the President and Managing Partner of The Health Law Firm, which has a national practice. Its main office is in the Orlando, Florida, area. The Health Law Firm, 1101 Douglas Ave., Altamonte Springs, FL 32714, Phone: (407) 331-6620.

KeyWords: Medical marijuana, U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), prescribing medical marijuana to patients, medical marijuana for treatment of veterans, legal representation for veterans, legal representation for medical marijuana, defense attorney, health care attorney, health law, The Health Law Firm

The Health Law Firm” is a registered fictitious business name of George F. Indest III, P.A. – The Health Law Firm, a Florida professional service corporation, since 1999.
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