Colorado residents suffering from the devastating grips of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) may soon have the freedom to participate in the state’s medical marijuana program. After years of sandbag tactics and other political shenanigans, it would seem that state lawmakers are finally convinced that these patients should be allowed the option of treating their condition with cannabis as opposed to prescription drugs.
Earlier this week, House lawmakers put their seal of approval on a proposal aimed at allowing doctors to recommend medical marijuana to people with PTSD.
“On this auspicious day, we’ve got a serious bill,” said Senator Jonathan Singer, who co-sponsored the bill. “We know that there is no medical cure for post-traumatic stress disorder. Therapy, medication, exercise, diet — there’s no silver bullet. This bill opens that door, it opens that door for our veterans to ensure that they are not sacrificing their future the way they decided to sacrifice their own health, and in some cases their own mental health for our country.”
Strangely, while the state’s military veterans have been the focus of the medical marijuana debate, the latest round of negotiations for Senate Bill 17 seems to be centered on the notion that kids might have the ability to smoke marijuana if diagnosed with this condition. In fact, the language of the bill, which originally allowed medical marijuana to be recommended to minors under the age of 18, is reportedly responsible for most of the legislative indecision.
But an amendment was made on Thursday that would impose a set of safeguards with respect to minors. The bill now requires anyone under 18 to obtain permission from a pediatrician, a licensed family doctor or child psychiatrist before being able to participate in the program. This was the compromise made after certaing lawmakers attempted to pass amendments that would have prohibited underage use altogether.
Although marijuana is fully legal in Colorado, making pot available recreationally to anyone 21 and older, patient advocates argue that the overall cost of the recreational sector, as a result of high taxes, prevents most PTSD sufferers (many of which are on fixed incomes) from frequenting this sector regulalrly for relief.
In fact, some even say by not including PTSD as a qualifying condition for the state’s medical marijuana program, it has driven a number of vets to purchase cannabis on the black market.
In order for Senate Bill 17 to become law, it still needs to be approved by the full House before heading back to the Senate for a concurrence. If all goes well, the bill will be shipped to the office of Governor Hickenlooper, who is expected to sign into law.