The Senate Appropriations Committee approved the amendment, offered by Sen. Steve Daines (R-MT) and Jeff Merkley (D-OR), on a voice vote.
The move comes one day after the House Rules Committee blocked floor votes on several amendments concerning medical cannabis access for veterans.
In past years, previous versions of the cannabis recommendation measure have been approved by the full House and Senate, but have never been enacted into law. The new amendment approved by senators also protects veterans from being denied VA services as a result of their participation in a state medical marijuana program.
If the measure approved by senators on Thursday is included in final Fiscal Year 2019 spending legislation for the VA, the department would no longer be able to enforce its ban on medical marijuana recommendations.
In a press release about the Appropriations Committee vote, Daines said, “Veterans should not be discriminated against when they seek care at the VA. They deserve access to the treatment that best suits their medical needs, just like they would receive at a non-VA clinic.”
SEC. 249. None of the funds appropriated or otherwise made available to the Department of Veterans Affairs in this Act may be used in a manner that would—
(2) deny any services from the Department to a veteran who is participating in such a program; or