Even though medical marijuana has been legal in Colorado since 2000, one of the conditions that has not managed to reach their list in over a decade is post traumatic stress disorder. This may finally change in early 2017, regardless of whether or not there has been approval from the Colorado Department of Health, who has been consistently opposed to adding the condition to the list that qualify for medical marijuana. This week, a panel of five lawmakers voted 5-0 in favor of adding PTSD to the medical marijuana program – though this recent vote does not have any legal effect, rather it is an endorsement by lawmakers prior to the 2017 legislative season.
Some may wonder why Colorado continues to try and expand their medical marijuana program now that marijuana is legal on a recreational level – but it makes more sense than some may think considering the medical program is not restricted to adults 21 and older. Another reason that expanding the medical side of legalization makes sense is that some patients say the medical marijuana dispensaries also have more options when it comes to strains that are more likely to help with their conditions compared to recreational shops.
“If we were able to get this as a qualifying condition it would be huge,” said Steven Defino, creator of the Veterans Farmers Alliance.
Veterans have been trying to get PTSD added to the list of qualifying conditions for years now – however it has been continuously denied by the Department of Health due to a “lack of research on the subject” – an answer we’ve all heard when it comes to medical marijuana at one point or another. Unfortunately, even after 18 other states chose to recognize marijuana’s medicinal benefits for the condition, they have been unwilling to waiver on the subject over the years. However the state has approved a study (which was also approved by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration) on medical marijuana’s effects on PTSD – which may have had an impact on lawmaker’s opinions on the subject.
Hopefully, around the beginning of 2017 the addition of PTSD to the state’s medical marijuana program will be a focus for lawmakers; a bill would put the condition on the list whether the Department of Health approved it or not. Adding PTSD to the list of qualifying conditions will allow veterans of any age (even those under 21 who end up coming home due to injury or other circumstances) to access medical marijuana in Colorado. If they were to take this route, there would be thousands of veterans who would finally feel like they have been heard as they finally have legal access to medical marijuana.