Senators Gardner And Warren Introduce Bill To Protect Veterans Working In Legal Cannabis Industry

Senators Cory Gardner (R-CO) and Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) on Wednesday announced the introduction of bipartisan legislation to prohibit the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) from refusing VA-backed home loans to veterans who work in their state’s legal cannabis industry.

Eligible veterans can receive a home loan that is partially guaranteed by the VA, but veterans with jobs in the cannabis industry in their state can be disqualified due to federal drug policy.

Despite the fact that the majority of the states have enacted laws to decriminalize or legalize cannabis, marijuana’s federal status as an illegal Schedule I narcotic allows the VA to deny home loans to veterans who work in a state’s legal cannabis industry.

“The citizens of Colorado led the nation in adopting a new approach to cannabis, and our state’s veterans have fought for our country all over the world,” says Senator Gardner. “It’s disgraceful that a veteran can be denied a benefit they earned serving our country because they have a job in a legitimate cannabis business. Unfortunately, this isn’t the only policy failure due to conflicting state and federal marijuana laws.”

Senator Gardner says that the policy failure is another example in a long list of reasons to pass the STATES Act, which he and Senator Warren reintroduced in April of 2019 to respect the will of the people by taking a states’ rights approach to legalizing cannabis.

Gardner and Warren originally introduced the STATES Act in 2018.

Senator Warren says that outdated federal cannabis laws prevent many veterans, who have sacrificed much for the United States, from getting the loans that they need to purchase homes.

Warren says that the bill would ensure that veterans who work in state-legal cannabis industries can access VA home loans and realize the dream of owning a home.

In addition to ensuring that a job in a state’s legal cannabis industry will not affect eligibility for the VA home loan guaranty program, the bill would mandate that when the VA does provide a loan, or when a veteran applies for one, it would not be in violation of federal controlled substance laws.

Gardner and Warren also announced a separate bipartisan bill on Wednesday that would prohibit the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services from considering an individual’s employment in their state’s legal cannabis industry as a factor in their application for naturalization.

Both bills were announced as a bundle of legislation aimed at improving the lives of people who work in state-legal cannabis industries.