Here Are The Marijuana And Psychedelics Reform Measures Congress Will Begin To Consider This Week

A key House committee is set to take up large-scale spending legislation this week, and members will be deciding on multiple marijuana and psychedelics amendments filed by bipartisan members in recent weeks.

The House Rules Committee will meet on Tuesday to take up an appropriations bill covering the Department of Defense (DOD)—one of several spending packages that lawmakers are hoping to use as a vehicle for drug policy reform. The committee makes the final call on whether amendments can proceed to votes on the House floor.

Some of the cannabis and psychedelics measures are familiar, having been introduced in past sessions without being enacted. They deal with a number of issues, from preventing marijuana testing for military service members and federal job applicants to promoting research into the therapeutic potential of psychedelics.

While the DOD spending legislation will be taken up by the Rules Committee on Tuesday, members will also soon consider appropriations for the Departments of Homeland Security (DHS); Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration (FDA); and State and Foreign Operations.

Here are the official summaries of the drug policy amendments the committee will consider for four spending bills:

Defense Department

Reps. Robert Garcia (D-CA) and Earl Blumenauer (D-OR): Blocks funding for marijuana testing of federal job applicants in states which have legalized marijuana use.

Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL): Prohibits federal funds from being used for cannabis testing for enlistment or commission in certain armed forces.

Reps. Blumenauer (D-OR), Mikie Sherrill (D-NJ) and Dave Joyce (R-OH): Decreasing funding for Operation and Maintenance, Army and increasing funding for Military Personnel, Army to support and expand the Army’s recruitment initiative to waive the prohibition on enlistees disqualified for tetrahydrocannabinol.

Rep. Dan Crenshaw (R-TX): Provides funding for the Defense Health Agency to submit a report to Congress on options to ensure that active-duty service members who are suffering from Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBI) and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) are able to participate in clinical trials under the Department of Veterans Affairs for the purposes of studying the effectiveness of psychedelic substances.

Reps. Morgan Luttrell (R-TX) and Dan Crenshaw (R-TX): Provides $15 million in funding for the DoD wide Psychedelic Medical Clinical Trials. Reduces funding by $15 million to RDTE, specifically Emerging Technology Initiatives, Weapons and Munitions Energy Development, and Army Test Range Facilities.

Agriculture and FDA

Reps. Robert Garcia (D-CA) and Rep. Daniel Goldman (D-NY): Blocks funding for marijuana testing of federal job applicants in states which have legalized marijuana use.

Rep. Jen Kiggans (R-VA): Increases and decreases funding for the Food and Drug Administration by $1,000,000 to express the intent that FDA begin requiring drug manufacturers to label prescribed pharmaceuticals with any known drug interactions with marijuana.

Department of Homeland Security (DHS)

Reps. Robert Garcia (D-CA) and Earl Blumenauer (D-OR): Blocks funding for marijuana testing of federal job applicants in states which have legalized marijuana use.

State and Foreign Operations

Rep. Robert Garcia (D-CA): Blocks funding for marijuana testing of federal job applicants in states which have legalized marijuana use.

The reason that Garcia’s amendment appears in each of the spending bills is to broaden the number of departments where marijuana testing of job applicants would be prohibited.

Garcia also proposed a similar version of the amendment to a spending bill for Military Construction, Veterans Affairs and Related Agencies (MilCon/VA). That one was not allowed to advance to the floor, though bipartisan lawmakers have cheered the House’s passage of the underlying legislation that included separate marijuana and psychedelics measures.

One of those House-passed amendments would allow VA doctors to issue medical cannabis recommendations to veterans, and the other would encourage research into the therapeutic potential of psychedelics like psilocybin and MDMA.

The Senate Appropriations Committee also adopted a measure to its version of the MilCon/VA legislation that would similarly free up VA doctors to issue medical marijuana recommendations, increasing the chances of the reform making it into the final package to be signed into law.

Still, it’s unclear how the GOP-controlled House committee will approach the new amendments as members return from an August recess this week. The panel has blocked numerous other bipartisan drug policy reform measures to other appropriations legislation this session, even though it did allow the previously mentioned marijuana and psychedelics proposals to advance.

report attached to the spending legislation by the House Appropriations Committee also includes a section noting that “VA has clarified that nothing in VA statutes or regulations specifically prohibits a veteran whose income is derived from state-legalized cannabis activities from obtaining a certificate of eligibility for VA home loan benefits.”

Over in the Senate, lawmakers passed defense legislation in July that contains provisions to bar intelligence agencies like the CIA and NSA from denying security clearances to applicants solely due to their past marijuana use. But other cannabis proposals, such as one from Sen. Brian Schatz (D-HI) to allowed medical marijuana use by veterans, did not advance as part of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA).

More than a dozen marijuana and psychedelics amendments to the House version of the NDAA were blocked by the Rules Committee in July. That includes a measure introduced by Garcia that would have prevented security clearance denials for federal workers over prior cannabis use.

House and Senate appropriators have also approved large-scale annual spending bills that once again include language to protect state medical cannabis programs, as well as a controversial rider to block Washington, D.C. from implementing a system of regulated marijuana sales.

Connecticut Saw A Record $25 Million Worth Of Marijuana Sold In August, State Officials Report

Image element courtesy of Kristie Gianopulos.

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