SOS for PTSD
In late 2010, the Colorado Board of Health denied a petition from marijuana advocacy group Sensible Colorado to add post-traumatic stress disorder to the approved list of maladies considered by the state to be treatable with MMJ.
About a year and a half later, the group's trying again. On Tuesday, joined by military veterans and supporters, it filed a second petition with the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment seeking the addition of PTSD, a condition afflicting between 11 and 20 percent of veterans of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.
"Really, what's happened since the last time we filed is, hundreds and hundreds of veterans have committed suicide," says executive director Brian Vicente. "And we hear from veterans every day, or quite often at Sensible Colorado, that say that this helps them. So, we feel it's compelling both scientifically and morally."
Looking at surrounding states, the Associated Press reported last week that Arizona is conducting hearings to determine whether to add the condition to its own list, while Vicente says it's the second-most cited reason for using medical cannabis in New Mexico.
Regardless, the odds of the petition passing are better for one simple reason: the former chief medical officer of the department, Ned Calonge, exited in late 2010. The good doctor was vocal about his mistrust of medical cannabis, a sentiment his replacement, Christopher Urbina, has never expressed.
"So we're hoping that they'll take a serious look at this," Vicente says. "And, if nothing else, have a public hearing where they can actually hear from these wounded soldiers, and other folks that have suffered from this condition."
56 and 64
A national survey of likely voters conducted by Rasmussen Reports on May 12 revealed that 56 percent of respondents support "legalizing marijuana and regulating it in the similar manner to the way alcohol and tobacco cigarettes are regulated today." This is, essentially, the deal being offered by Amendment 64, which Colorado voters will see in November.
"There is more nationwide support for regulating marijuana like alcohol than ever before," reads a triumphant reaction from the amendment-backing campaign.