Yesterday, as we reported, a bill calling for post-traumatic stress disorder to be added to the conditions approved for treatment by medical marijuana came before the Colorado House committee on State, Military and Veterans Affairs. But it was rejected by a 6-5 vote.Sensible Colorado’s Brian Vicente, attorney and co-author of Amendment 64, has been fighting for this cause since at least 2010. He’s clearly frustrated by this turn of events, as well as some of the misinformation heard during testimony. But he’s not ready to give up.
“This is something Sensible Colorado has worked on for four years-plus,” Vicente notes, “and it seems that time and again, the government has acted to prevent PTSD sufferers from ready access to medical marijuana. We think the vote last night was just shameful.”
The roots of this issue stretch back to 2000, when Colorado approved Amendment 20, a ballot measure that legalized medical marijuana in the state. A20 includes a list of conditions approved for MMJ treatment, but also provides a way for others to be added. Here’s the pertinent section of the document:
“Debilitating medical condition” means:
(I) Cancer, glaucoma, positive status for human immunodeficiency virus, or acquired immune deficiency syndrome, or treatment for such conditions;
(II) A chronic or debilitating disease or medical condition, or treatment for such conditions, which produces, for a specific patient, one or more of the following, and for which, in the professional opinion of the patient’s physician, such condition or conditions reasonably may be alleviated by the medical use of marijuana: cachexia; severe pain; severe nausea; seizures, including those that are characteristic of epilepsy; or persistent muscle spasms, including those that are characteristic of multiple sclerosis; or
(III) Any other medical condition, or treatment for such condition, approved by the state health agency, pursuant to its rule making authority or its approval of any petition submitted by a patient or physician as provided in this section.
As you can see, post-traumatic stress disorder is not listed in the amendment. As a result, Colorado veterans who use marijuana to address PTSD symptoms risk losing their federal benefits by doing so.
Read more over at the Denver Westword.