Gardner’s bill aligns federal, state marijuana laws to permit VA home loans for veterans

U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner (R-CO) on Dec. 18 unveiled bipartisan legislation that would align federal law with a state’s legal cannabis industry so that U.S. military veterans working in the industry may obtain government-backed home loans.

“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,” Sen. Gardner said. “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.”

Sen. Gardner introduced S. 3097 with bill cosponsor U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) to prohibit the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) from denying home loans for military veterans who legally work in the marijuana industry on the basis of the nature of such work, according to the text of the bill.

Currently, cannabis is considered illegal under federal law, while 47 other states have joined Colorado in adopting laws permitting or decriminalizing marijuana or marijuana-based products, according to information provided by Sen. Gardner’s office.

However, under federal law, the VA can deny home loans to veterans whose verified income is earned from working in their state’s legal cannabis industry, according to the information.

If enacted, S. 3097 would clarify that the VA’s activities related to guaranteeing a home loan would not be a violation of federal controlled substances laws, nor would application for a VA-backed home loan violate these laws.

“Veterans have sacrificed so much for this country, but our outdated federal marijuana laws prevent many veterans from getting the loans they need to buy homes,” said Sen. Warren. “Our bipartisan bill would ensure that veterans who work in their state’s legal cannabis industry can access VA home loans and realize the dream of homeownership.”

According to Sen. Gardner’s office, companion legislation is being introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives.