ALBANY, New York — Support from veterans groups is helping knock down barriers and expand access to medical marijuana for vets in-need.
Just earlier this month, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced he would sign legislation making his state the next to allow medical marijuana for treatment of post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD.
That would make New York the 29th locale, the District of Columbia included, to cover PTSD with medical marijuana treatment, a list of jurisdictions that has grown twice as long in just two years.
According to the Associated Press, retired Marine Staff Sergeant Mark DiPasquale said the drug freed him from a raft of opioids, anti-anxiety medications and more that he was taking for migraines, PTSD and injuries sustained from duty, including a hard landing a dozen years ago in Iraq.
“I just felt like a zombie, and I wanted to hurt somebody,” he said.
DiPasquale said he felt his chronic symptoms, such as anxiety and insomnia, were relieved after marijuana use.
“Do I still have PTSD? Absolutely,” says the 42-year-old Rochester native.“But I’m back to my old self. I love people again.”
DiPasquale now heads the Veterans Cannabis Collective Foundation in Rochester, New York, which educates vets about cannabis treatment.
Medical marijuana is still illegal under federal law, though licenses to produce the drug in liquid form started being granted in Texas this month for patients with severe epilepsy.
Many states are being pressured by veterans groups, including the 2.2 million-member, American Legion, to make medical marijuana legal due to veterans saying it has helped relieve anxiety and post-war symptoms of aggression and depression.