RI Senate Passes Medical Marijuana Bill for PTSD Patients
By: Kainani Stevens
PROVIDENCE (WLNE)----Medical marijuana for patients suffering from post traumatic stress disorder is one step closer to happening in Rhode Island. The State Senate unanimously passing the bill that would add PTSD to the list of debilitating medical conditions that qualify a patient to use medical marijuana
"PTSD has so much to do with anxiety that medical marijuana is a great treatment,"said Patrick Rimoshytus, a Care Coordinator at Green Cross RI. "There are so many different strains at this point, they all give different effect. It's almost like wine."
A significant portion of PTSD patients are military veterans, making the timing of this local bill even more relevant. Nationally, Congress voted to allow V.A. doctors to prescribe medical marijuana to their patients. Senator Jack Reed, a combat veteran, voiced his support of any safe and viable medical treatment for PTSD patients.
"I think if it is suitably controlled by a prescription and supervised then the availability should be there," said Reed. "It will help veterans. It will help everyone."
Proponents of the Rhode Island bill are hopeful that the unanimous support for the state senate is a positive sign. As many people are desperately looking for answers in helping to treat the disorder.
"The veteran suicides have gone up this year from 21–22 a day," said Rimoshytus. "That being said, last year they had a chance to vote on it and they didn't do so in time. This year we are really hopeful they will add it to the list of things medical marijuana can be used for."
The RI bill will now head to the house of representatives.
Nationally, the bill opening the door to medical marijuana treatment at the VA could be signed into law by the fall.