The New Jersey state Senate this week passed a bill that would allow patients with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) to use medical marijuana as treatment.
The fate of vets across the state battling the disorder are now in the hands of Gov. Chris Christie, who must sign off on the bill. The bill was approved by the Assembly several months ago and endorsed by Assemblyman Vince Mazzeo, D-Atlantic, who has supported medical marijuana for veterans who have PTSD.
“Veterans — especially post-9/11 veterans — are the group most affected by PTSD,” Mazzeo said in a statement. “The VA has stated that it wants each veteran to find the medication with the least amount of side effects that allows them the optimum level of independence. For many, medical marijuana is the drug that best fits that criteria, and the only one to provide veterans with significant relief from the anxiety associated with PTSD.”
Medical marijuana is currently legal in New Jersey but is limited to those with approved debilitating medical conditions such as multiple sclerosis and terminal cancer. Those with conditions resistant to conventional therapy such as seizures and epilepsy may qualify as well, the same conditions are on the bill for PTSD, which generally combines psychotherapy with antidepressants and antianxiety medication.
Gov. Christie has not made any official comments on the bill but has vetoed medical marijuana bills in past half decade of the program's existence. He also opposed national legalization of marijuana during his short run for president in 2015 claiming he would be enforcing the federal marijuana laws in all 50 states if elected President.