4

Inside Medical Marijuana Lawsuit Filed Against Colorado by Vets With PTSD

^
Keep Westword Free
I Support
  • Local
  • Community
  • Journalism
  • logo

Support the independent voice of Denver and help keep the future of Westword free.

Last July, as we reported, the Colorado Board of Health declined to add post-traumatic stress disorder to the list of conditions legally treatable by medical marijuana following a meeting that left many advocates frustrated.

For example, Sue Sisley, a physician awarded a $2 million Colorado grant for a study on pot and PTSD, was given a grand total of two minutes to speak even though she'd traveled all the way from Arizona to share her thoughts.

Afterward, five PTSD patients, including Matthew Kahl, who says the disorder made him feel as if he'd been lowered into "a pit of hell," sued the board and the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment over its decision.

The case is moving forward, with attorney Bob Hoban filing an opening brief earlier this month that spells out the reasons why the plaintiffs feel the board's decision was both inhumane and wrong.

We've been reporting for years about efforts to add PTSD to the list of treatable conditions for medical marijuana. In July 2010, for example, marijuana attorney Brian Vicente and a group of veterans presented a petition on the topic to Ned Colange, then Colorado's chief medical officer.

A few months later, the health board rejected the petitions — a move that prompted Vicente to float the idea of a lawsuit in a Westword interview.

Three years later, in 2014, a bill to address the PTSD situation was introduced in the Colorado legislature — but it fell short near the end of the session.

Afterward, advocates decided to revisit the petition process. But when the board again turned thumbs-down following a hearing whose transcript, on view below, includes accusations such as "liar" and "treason," Hoban and company decided to take the matter to court.

The aforementioned opening brief is also shared below — but here's an excerpt that encapsulates one of the arguments aimed at the board and the health department.

The Defendant's arbitrary and capricious decision to deny the Petition based upon the purported lack of medical evidence creates a "Catch 22" by impeding research to further quantify the benefits of using medical marijuana to treat PTSD and hampering efforts to identify and refine the most effective strains of medical marijuana for treating PTSD. Moreover, the Defendant has arbitrarily denied physicals the opportunity to use their clinical judgment to prescribe the medicine that will most effectively treat their patients' PTSD symptoms.

Continue to see a video in which Kahl talks about marijuana and PTSD.

The clip is followed by the brief, the hearing transcript, a CDPHE slide presentation about the condition and a Sisley affidavit.

In the latter, Sisley suggests that she might have been able to change the minds of boardmembers who shrugged off the petition if she'd been allowed to speak for more than two minutes.


Keep Westword Free... Since we started Westword, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Denver, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Denver with no paywalls.

We use cookies to collect and analyze information on site performance and usage, and to enhance and customize content and advertisements. By clicking 'X' or continuing to use the site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. To find out more, visit our cookies policy and our privacy policy.

 

Join the Westword community and help support independent local journalism in Denver.

 

Join the Westword community and help support independent local journalism in Denver.