LI vets await Cuomo decision on medical marijuana to treat PTSD

LI vets await Cuomo decision on medical marijuana to treat PTSD

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Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo has not said whether he will support a bill approving the use of medical marijuana to treat veterans battling PTSD. Photo Credit: John Roca Long Island veterans are awaiting a decision from Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo on whether he will sign a bill permitting medical marijuana to help combat PTSD, a treatment option not recommended by the federal Department of Veterans Affairs but supported by many former service members and their advocates. Legislation adding post-traumatic stress disorder to the list of 11 serious medical conditions eligible for medical marijuana was recently approved by the state Legislature and is now under review by the governor’s legal counsel and the state Department of Health, a spokesman for Cuomo said. Cuomo has not indicated whether he will support the bill, though legislators said they are optimistic following recent expansions to the program, such as allowing the drug in more forms such as lozenges and ointments, which they said signals a greater openness to its use as a treatment option. The bill’s sponsors and other legislators have touted the bill as a necessary aid to those with PTSD, whose ranks include many of New York’s estimated 900,000 veterans, according to the VA. State Sen. Diane Savino (D-Staten Island) said veterans rely on a “cocktail of drugs” such as antidepressants like Zoloft, despite reports of little relief and escalating fears about the addictive nature of many prescription drugs. “We need to solve this problem,” Savino said. “We [New York] would be an outlier if we didn’t add it.” Others don’t think marijuana is an appropriate solution to treat PTSD. A handful of Long Island politicians, including state Sen. Elaine Phillips (R-Flower Hill) and state Sen. Thomas Croci (R-Sayville), chair of the Senate Veterans Committee, voted against the bill, citing the […]

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