The House rejected a proposal Thursday to allow doctors at Department of Veterans Affairs hospitals to discuss the use of medical marijuana with patients.
Rep. Earl Blumenauer’s (D-Ore.) amendment to the first fiscal 2016 appropriations bill of the year, which funds the VA and military construction projects, failed narrowly by a vote of 210-213.
A total of 35 Republicans voted in favor of the amendment, while eight Democrats voted against it. Boos ensued from the Democratic side of the House chamber when Republicans closed the vote despite the razor-thin margin.
Medical marijuana is legal in more than 30 states and the District of Columbia. But VA doctors are prohibited from completing patient forms seeking recommendations or opinions regarding medical marijuana to treat conditions like post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
A 2012 VA report found nearly 30 percent of veterans who served in Iraq and Afghanistan suffer from PTSD or depression.
Lawmakers from both parties argued veterans should at least be able to receive recommendations from their doctors about the drug’s merits. They stressed the amendment wouldn’t force doctors to recommend medical marijuana or authorize marijuana possession at VA facilities.