The Senate approved a budget for 2017 Tuesday night that included a rider that waives the registration fee for the medical marijuana program for veterans. The amendment was sponsored by Senators Jason Lewis and Vinny DeMacedo; both of whom were part of the Senate panel that developed policy recommendations for the state should voters approve to legalize recreational marijuana via a ballot question in November 2018. The amendment aims to remove the financial barrier to accessing medical marijuana for veterans. Veterans would have to provide proof of “verified financial hardships” including MassHealth members and/or have an income below 300 percent of the federal poverty level. Another outcome of the amendment is the potential decrease of opioid use, dependence, and addiction among veterans. Veterans injured in combat can now more easily use medical marijuana in place of opioid pain killers with the financial barrier to access removed.