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Gov. Cuomo to sign bill giving PTSD patients access to medical marijuana

Cyril Josh Barker | 11/16/2017, 11:31 a.m.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo will sign a bipartisan bill to add post-traumatic stress disorder as a qualifying condition for New York’s ...
Depression/PTSD Pixabay

Gov. Andrew Cuomo will sign a bipartisan bill to add post-traumatic stress disorder as a qualifying condition for New York’s medical marijuana program, he announced Saturday, Veterans Day. The Senate passed S 5629 in June (50-13), and the Assembly version, A 7006, received overwhelming approval in May (131-8). New York is the 28th state to allow medical marijuana to be used to treat PTSD.

“We thank Gov. Cuomo for his support of this compassionate bill,” said Landon Dais, political director for the Marijuana Policy Project of New York. “No one should have to leave the state to have access to a treatment that might help them have a better quality of life.”

Assembly Health Committee Chair Richard N. Gottfried, sponsor of the bill, said, “Governor Cuomo’s action reflects growing recognition of the value of medical marijuana, and is another welcome step in the expanding and strengthening of New York’s medical marijuana program.”

“Gov. Cuomo should be applauded for helping thousands of New York veterans find relief with medical marijuana,” said Bob Becker, legislative director for the New York State Council of Veterans Organizations. “PTSD is a serious problem facing our state, and now we have one more tool available to alleviate suffering.”

Twenty-eight of the 29 states with medical marijuana programs will now allow patients with PTSD to qualify. In the only state that does not, Alaska, marijuana is legal and regulated for adults 21 and older. Bills to add PTSD to state medical marijuana programs were signed into law in Colorado, New Hampshire and Vermont this year.

“Now, PTSD patients will have access to medical marijuana everywhere it is legally available,” Dais said. “Over the past two years, New York has made important strides toward having an inclusive, workable medical marijuana program. We urge legislators, Gov. Cuomo, and the Department of Health to continue improving the program. To better serve patients, the state should expand qualifying conditions, allow patients to use the type of cannabis products that work best for them, and reduce burdensome rules that drive up prices.”