Oregon Senate Health & Human Services Committee:
I urge you to support Senate Bill 281, a measure that will add post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) as a qualifying condition under the Oregon Medical Marijuana Act. This bill is needed because pharmaceutical drugs have proven to be ineffective combatting the symptoms of PTSD. Our veterans, and other citizens suffering from severe trauma, need help and you are in a unique position to improve their quality of life.
You will be hearing and receiving testimony from licensed medical professionals who will provide you the current status of PTSD research and I have emailed you a relatively lengthy informational packet provided by the Drug Policy Alliance when a petition was submitted to remove PTSD as a qualifying condition under New Mexico's medical cannabis law. The New Mexico Medical Cannabis Advisory Board voted unanimously to keep PTSD as a qualifying condition after considering all of the available evidence.
I have included an editorial from The Register Guard titled, "Military suicides on the rise: It's an epidemic that the Pentagon must address," that details the tragic number of military suicides and notes that the number of U.S. soldiers committing suicide has outnumbered soldier combat deaths in Afghanistan since 2001. The editorial concludes by stating, "The Pentagon must step up efforts in this critical fight and reverse the heartbreaking trend of soldiers taking their own lives." I have also submitted an ABC News article detailing how antipsychotics and antidepressants have been ineffective helping patients suffering with PTSD. Clearly, more research into PTSD medications, including cannabis, needs to be conducted, but cannabis researchers face too many bureaucratic hurdles and are usually denied the ability to conduct much-needed research.
Drug and Pentagon policies can get bogged down in Washington gridlock and partisan politics. The Oregon Legislature can be different. You have the opportunity to rise above politics and simply do what is right. You will hear from plenty of PTSD sufferers who will explain that medical marijuana helps their symptoms and improves their livelihoods. You will hear from medical professionals who will state that cannabis is a safe, effective medicine that has never caused a fatal overdose. After considering all of the evidence, you will have the opportunity to improve laws. You may even save some lives.
Please support Senate Bill 281 and make a real improvement in the lives of our soldiers and everyone suffering from post-traumatic stress.
Executive Director, National Cannabis Coalition
Republished with special permission from the National Cannabis Coalition