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Marijuana: Vets group supporting Amendment 64 after health department's PTSD non-ruling

Way back in May, Sensible Colorado's Brian Vicente made a second request to the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment to add post-traumatic stress disorder to the allowable conditions for a medical marijuana card in Colorado.

Vicente got his answer in the form of a no-answer.

According to Vicente, the CDPHE has not responded to his request, essentially killing it by not giving it the time of day.

"There is significant evidence demonstrating the benefits of marijuana for individuals with PTSD, and in 2010, the Department of Veterans Affairs formally announced it would allow patients treated at its hospitals and clinics to use medical marijuana in states where it is legal," the group wrote in a press release yesterday. "The petition to add PTSD to the list of qualifying conditions for medical marijuana was submitted on behalf of Iraq War veteran Joe Hatcher on May 29, 2012. In order to approve the petition, the CDPHE must schedule a public hearing in front of the Board of Health within 120 days. The petition has effectively been denied because 120 days have elapsed since the filing and a hearing was not scheduled."

This is the second time the CDPHE has denied PTSD as a qualifying condition. The first was back in September 2010.

CDPHE spokesman Mark Salley told Westword yesterday morning that the window for the CDPHE to respond to the petition has not yet closed. But Salley also said that "department is not considering any new petitions to add a medical condition to the registry," pretty much confirming that PTSD won't be considered by the state health department. Salley added that a response to the petitions would be made "within the time allowed." He did not make clear what day that would be.

Thumbnail image for Brian Vicente Sensible.jpg
Brian Vicente.
That doesn't work for a group of vets, who now say their only option for safe access to cannabis is the passage of Amendment 64. Vietnam vet Bob Wiley is heading the Veterans for 64 campaign, which announced its formation yesterday at a press conference in Colorado Springs.

"The state's failure to act is an effective denial of this compassionate petition," Wiley said in a statement. "Our only option is to support Amendment 64, which will ensure that Coloradans 21 and older who suffer from PTSD will no longer be subject to arrest and prosecution for using marijuana to alleviate their suffering."

That includes vets like Denver's Sean Azzariti. A soft-spoken guy who usually wears a big smile, Azzariti says he suffers from debilitating anxiety that stems from two tours in Iraq with the Marines.

His assignment during both tours was base security at an airfield in Iraq -- checking non-military personnel coming and going from the base, including food vendors and janitorial crews contracted out to third-country nationals. A lot of the time, tensions were high simply due to the heightened security, and as Azzariti points out, nobody likes being hassled. Nevertheless, there was always a very real threat of danger.

"You don't know what you are really dealing with. Any time you go to search someone's car, it could blow up. We had a big concrete wall about ten feet high by twenty feet wide that they would have to go park behind, and that is where we would search it. [The danger] is always looming over you, literally."

Continue to read more of our interview with veteran Sean Azzariti about PTSD and marijuana.



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23 comments
Azzman2401
Azzman2401

Thank you for letting me tell my story

Bill Black
Bill Black

Certainly. As a vet who has PTSD I support this. However, the ultimate goal is the passage of Amendment 64. Every vet in the state should vote YES on 64. Why? Because everyone, not just vets, needs a JOB.

Anthony King
Anthony King

Every treatment should be available... Just because it works doesn't mean you shouldn't use it.....

Cre8iveMMJ
Cre8iveMMJ

I find it harder and harder to believe that there are still people out there that think medical marijuana is a dangerous drug and should be classified as schedule 1 still.   In this day and age, especially with the internet, you would think that enough of the truth about cannabis prohibition and its hopeful re-legalization would be readily available and easily disseminated from all the lies and propaganda spread by the FED.  In 1999 a patent was filed by the department of health and human services of the FED Gov that proved that a canabinoid found in cannabis actually shrinks and kills some cancer tumors.  That in and of itself should take it off schedule 1.  And the idea that it is highly addictive and has a very high potential for abuse should also be thrown out as there is absolutely no proof that there is any form of addiction to any of the components in cannabis.  Sure, some people may THINK they are addicted, but take it away from even the most hardcore daily smoker and the most you get is a very pissed off individual because he cannot get high anymore.  no withdrawal, no puking, no delirium tremens, no fever, no chills, no snot running everywhere, diareah etc that you see with true addiction.  Especially opiates which are only schedule 2 or 3 by the way.  Also, if pot is so addictive as to be schedule 1, where are the news stories about the people robbing liquor stores or 7-11s for money to get their next "Fix" of cannabis.  It is literally High time WE ALL came together and use our 2nd amendment rights to protect and defend our 20th amendment rights as guaranteed by the Colorado State Constitution and the US constitution.  It is time for us to take back the money wasted by all the politicians over the past 70 years spent on this fake "War on Drugs".  It has FAILED people.  You cannot wage war on a plant that will grow almost anywhere and until you actually start targeting the demand for the drugs, you will never make a dent in the amount consumed by the US people.  The money for cocaine goes either to the drug lords south of the border, or worse, into a lawyers pockets, a judges paycheck, the district attorney, the court clerk, the wardens, guards, etc that get their wage in part to cannabis being illegal. 

Rusanne King
Rusanne King

absolutely....anyone that has to deal with that kind of psychological trauma should be afforded every opportunity to forget it all....

Vic Shayne
Vic Shayne

Everyone should be allowed to use marijuana within reason.

IcePick
IcePick

Yes on Amendment 64, its good for our brothers and sisters in the armed services!

 

ryanralfs
ryanralfs

 @Azzman2401 Yes, thanks for everything you have done. Know that a lot of us are still speaking out for your rights. I do my best to educate everyone I come into contact with on this very serious subject. Keep your head up brother.

michael.roberts
michael.roberts moderator editortopcommenter

 @Cre8iveMMJ Passionate post, Cre8iveMMJ. We're going to make it an upcoming Comment of the Day. Thanks for weighing in.

Cre8iveMMJ
Cre8iveMMJ

 @IcePick Hell YES on Amendment 64.  Maybe we, the people of the beautiful state of Colorado, can defy the FED big brother DEA Jackbooted Thugs and have our cannabis and smoke it too.  After all, it has been PROVEN with no doubt that cannabis is safer than\ ANY prescription medicine and far safer than any of the over the counter "supplements"  that are legal to sell with no FDA guidelines AT ALL.  NONE WHATSOEVER.  They can put in a ton of crap containing ephedrine in these weight loss supplements and only pull it when kids started stroking out at raves.  Alcohol kills more people per day than cannabis has since humans started using it over 1000 years ago.  Same goes for any and all prescription meds and most OTC medicines as well.  Hell, overdoses on water have killed more people than cannabis EVER has.  You know why?  Cannabis, by itself, has not been linked to any single death in the history of man. The "estimated" lethal dosage to humans is 40,000 times what one would normally take.  So if you smoke a gram of hash a day, you better smoke a bit over 89 Pounds IN ONE SITTING to risk overdose.  It is nuts folks.

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