On February 7th Veterans backed by medical marijuana advocates will be teaming up to appear in support of SB 281, a bill that would add post-traumatic stress disorder to the list of qualifying conditions allowed by the Oregon Medical Marijuana Act. Currently, Veterans who suffer from PTSD can not acquire medicine that could help with the post combat transition into civilian life.
Michael Krawitz, director of a Virginia-based group called Veterans for Medical Cannabis Access, said marijuana can help people suffering from PTSD find balance in their lives. Military suicides reached a record 349 last year.
"Although many disabled by post traumatic stress are able to access medical marijuana under the heading of pain, it is disrespectful to those veterans to not allow them to honestly claim their primary medical condition." Krawitz goes on to add that "nationally it would very helpful to know who the pain patients are, and who are the post traumatic stress patients are. This is something that would help a lot towards removing the stigma of seeking treatment for post traumatic stress and certainly can help save lives."
20% of returning U.S. Veterans are being diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder and the high rate of suicide among service members punctuates the need for this valuable tool in the treatment of this disorder to be added.
Jim Greig, a long time medical marijuana patient and advocate, is proud to help mobilize the Oregon Medical Marijuana community toward helping veterans achieve peace when they return from service. "They fought for us, now it's our duty to fight for them. It's the least we can do"
Todd Dalotto, Chair of the Advisory Committee on Medical Marijuana and the constituent requesting this bill responded, "we have attempted to make this change through the administrative rules process twice to no avail. Now we are bringing this to the steps of the capital in hopes of giving PTSD the hearing it deserves."
While also frustrated at the lack of progress, Jim and others believe this bill could be a litmus test on which legislators are more concerned with their personal stake than community good. "We are looking forward to seeing who votes against this obviously common sense legislation. It will shine a light on who is here for progress and who is here for personal gain."
We would like anyone who supports helping veterans to call their local representatives and come down to the hearing to show your support for our service members in need.
Who: Veterans for Medical Cannabis Access, Oregon Medical Marijuana Advocates
What: Senate Bill 281 a bill to help reduce suffering
Where: Capitol building, Hearing Room A
When: Feb 7th 3pm