Update: The Colorado Senate just approved SB 17-17; Kent Lambert was the only no vote. It now moves on to the House. Here's our original story:
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder may be the next addition to Colorado’s list of qualifying conditions for medical marijuana. On January 30, the state Senate committee on Veterans and Military Affairs heard arguments for SB 17-17, the Post-Traumatic Stress Bill, before a standing-room-only crowd.
State Senator Ray Scott, chair of the committee, called upon victims, veterans, physicians and advocates to testify on behalf of cannabis use for stress disorders, including PTSD.
"It's about freedom. We gave our blood, sweat and tears, sometimes our lives for the principle of freedom," says Colorado veteran Matt Kahl, founder of Veterans for Natural Rights and board member of the Cannabis Patients Alliance.
For years, advocates have been hoping to change the minds of officials at the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, the agency involved in approving new conditions. The department has denied earlier requests, however, so this bill is a backup.
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“It is time to give Colorado veterans and others suffering from acute stress disorders access to medical marijuana,” says a statement of support from the Hoban Law Group. “Our veterans deserve access to this medicine to treat the conditions they develop as a result of their service to our country.”
According to advocates, the bill would:
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- Allow individuals with PTSD to have a conversation with their physician about using medical marijuana in a treatment plan
- Allow veterans with PTSD to participate in a state-authorized medical marijuana program
- Help PTSD patients who are unable to afford their medicine pay less than the higher price of retail marijuana
- Provide access to medical marijuana strains that are not available in the retail marketplace
The committee approved the bill by a five-to-zero vote, and it now moves on to the full Senate.