It's been a big week for the chillest senator in the game, Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.). First, he wrote a New York Times op-ed about why he's endorsing Bernie Sanders for president of the United States, thus becoming the only U.S. senator to publicly #FeeltheBern.
And today, according to a press release sent out by Merkley's camp, the Senate Appropriations Committee passed an amendment he spearheaded with Sen. Steve Daines (R-Mont.) to the Military Construction and Veteran Affairs Appropriations Bill that would "allow Veterans Health Administration (VA) doctors to discuss and make recommendations about the use of medical marijuana with their patients."
The amendment passed 20-10.
Turns out that as it stands now, a veterans' doctors can't even talk to them about the possibility of using medical marijuana, even in states where it is legal. According to CBS and other news sources, many veterans are using cannabis medically anyway, for PTSD, as an alternative to pharmaceuticals that make them feel like zombies.
In the press release, Merkley says his goal is to make life easier for veterans. "The VA shouldn't be taking legal treatment options off the table for veterans," he adds.
The bill still needs to be considered by the full Senate, then merged with a counterpart bill from the U.S. House of Representatives and then passed by both houses and signed into law. So we aren't there yet. But everything's got to start somewhere!