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2/15/2016 Archambault bill would add post traumatic stress disorder to conditions treatable with medical marijuana
STATE HOUSE — The Senate Health and Human Services Committee is considering legislation introduced by Sen. Stephen R. Archambault (D-Dist. 22, Smithfield, North Providence, Johnston) that would add post traumatic stress disorder to the list of conditions that may be treated with medical marijuana.

The bill (2016-S 2115) would add post-traumatic stress disorder to the definition of “debilitating medical condition” for purposes of qualifying for medical marijuana in the Edward O. Hawkins and Thomas C. Slater Medical Marijuana Act.

 “Medical marijuana is already the law of Rhode Island. We’ve already established that it works in treating certain conditions,” Senator Archambault said. “I haven’t heard any sound argument that would justify not adding PTSD to the medical treatments. Post traumatic stress disorder is a very real psychological problem, particularly among our veteran community, and it’s our responsibility to provide them with treatment options that can alleviate their suffering.”

According to a report from the Veterans Administration, nearly 30 percent of veterans who served in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars suffer from PTSD. Some scientists have suggested that marijuana may help PTSD symptoms, which can include anxiety, flashbacks and depression. In a recent study, patients who smoked cannabis saw an average 75 percent reduction in PTSD symptoms.

The bill would also accelerate the issuance of an approved medical marijuana use application if the patient is eligible for hospice care. It would require the Department of Health to issue a registry identification card to the qualifying patient and primary caregivers named in the patient’s application within 72 hours of receipt of the completed application.

According to the Department of Health, more than 10,000 people in Rhode Island carry medical marijuana cards to treat an approved list of conditions, including cancer, glaucoma, AIDS, hepatitis C, Crohn’s disease and Alzheimer’s, among others.

The legislation is cosponsored by Senators Adam J. Satchell (D-Dist. 9, West Warwick), Joshua Miller (D-Dist. 28, Cranston, Providence), Gayle L. Goldin (D-Dist. 3, Providence) and Frank A. Ciccone III (D-Dist. 7, Providence, North Providence). A companion bill (2016-H 7142) has been introduced in the House of Representatives by Rep. Scott A. Slater (D-Dist. 10, Providence).

For more information, contact:
Daniel Trafford, Publicist
State House Room 20
Providence, RI 02903