By a vote of 233-189 in the House of Representatives, and 89-8 in the Senate, Congress voted to forbid the Department of Veterans Affairs, or VA, from prohibiting government doctors from prescribing medical marijuana to veterans. The bill will make its way to President Obama next, and if signed into law, it could mean relatively quick access for veterans in the 24 states, and Washington, D.C., where medical marijuana has been legalized. Note, passage of this law wouldn't mean all veterans would have access to medical marijuana -- just those in currently legal states. The VA's ban in the remaining 26 states would still be valid.
Medical marijuana would specifically be targeted at treatments such as anxiety, insomnia, chronic pain, and post-traumatic stress disorder. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, the stresses of wartime and the uniqueness of military culture creates a situation where veterans are much more likely to get addicted to prescription drugs compared to civilians. Thus medical marijuana may be able to step in and curb this trend.
This may not be the overwhelming victory that a majority of Americans would like to see -- 84% want medical marijuana legalized nationally per a CBS News poll in April 2015 -- but it's an undeniable step in the right direction on Capitol Hill for the marijuana industry.