Medical marijuana PTSD bill's failure is "shameful," advocate says

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Photo courtesy of the U.S. Army
Yesterday, as we reported, a bill calling for post-traumatic stress disorder to be added to the conditions approved for treatment by medical marijuana came before the House committee on State, Military and Veterans Affairs. But it was rejected by a 6-5 vote.

Sensible Colorado's Brian Vicente, attorney and co-author of Amendment 64, has been fighting for this cause since at least 2010. He's clearly frustrated by this turn of events, as well as some of the misinformation heard during testimony. But he's not ready to give up.

"This is something Sensible Colorado has worked on for four years-plus," Vicente notes, "and it seems that time and again, the government has acted to prevent PTSD sufferers from ready access to medical marijuana. We think the vote last night was just shameful."

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Brian Vicente.
The roots of this issue stretch back to 2000, when Colorado approved Amendment 20, a ballot measure that legalized medical marijuana in the state. A20 includes a list of conditions approved for MMJ treatment, but also provides a way for others to be added. Here's the pertinent section of the document:
"Debilitating medical condition" means:

(I) Cancer, glaucoma, positive status for human immunodeficiency virus, or acquired immune deficiency syndrome, or treatment for such conditions;

(II) A chronic or debilitating disease or medical condition, or treatment for such conditions, which produces, for a specific patient, one or more of the following, and for which, in the professional opinion of the patient's physician, such condition or conditions reasonably may be alleviated by the medical use of marijuana: cachexia; severe pain; severe nausea; seizures, including those that are characteristic of epilepsy; or persistent muscle spasms, including those that are characteristic of multiple sclerosis; or

(III) Any other medical condition, or treatment for such condition, approved by the state health agency, pursuant to its rule making authority or its approval of any petition submitted by a patient or physician as provided in this section.

As you can see, post-traumatic stress disorder is not listed in the amendment. As a result, Colorado veterans who use marijuana to address PTSD symptoms risk losing their federal benefits by doing so.

Since 2010, Vicente and other advocates have attempted to alter this situation via legislation and two separate petitions to the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment. But the 2010 bill failed due in part to health department lobbying against it -- and the CDPHE rejected petitions that year and in 2012 without holding a hearing.

In 2014, however, Vicente and legislators such as Representative Jonathan Singer took another shot at getting the legislature to act.

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Representative Jonathan Singer in a photo from his campaign website.
As we've reported, the latest PTSD legislation, known as House Bill 14-1364, was extremely simple. The two-page document "adds post-traumatic stress disorder to the list of debilitating medical conditions for the purposes of the use of medical marijuana," it states, with a safety clause noting that "the general assembly hereby finds, determines, and declares that this act is necessary for the immediate preservation of the public peace, health, and safety."

Among those who spoke against the measure at yesterday's hearing was Dr. Larry Wolk, who's served as the CDPHE's executive director and chief medical officer since last September.

"His argument against the bill was essentially that there's not enough data out there to show that PTSD is assisted by cannabis," Vicente notes, adding, "The CDPHE says they need federal studies, but the federal government won't authorize those studies. So the department has basically been in lockstep with the federal government, putting hurdles in front of any progress in this area."

Moreover, Vicente feels Wolk "had a complete misunderstanding of the timeline about how medical marijuana evolved in Colorado."

Continue for more about the failure of the medical marijuana PTSD bill, including additional photos.


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88 comments
Betel Eli Guese
Betel Eli Guese

If a vet who is no longer active duty wants to get high nothing should stop him. He is done serving and paid more then any one could to every one. That is coming from someone who dosnt like pot. But honestly its not going to be a cure. I think any one trying to cure PTSD is a idiot. Its not a disease its a emotion. It shouldnt of been a bill in the first place. Allowed yes by personal choice yes. Bill no. All bills have secrets and they are never good.

Therese Rachak
Therese Rachak

That way they can spend more government tax money to drug companies to keep them dopped up that way -

Ell Marree
Ell Marree

it is shameful...they offer over their lives...put EVERYTHING on the line...and can get NO RELIEF....shame on the folks allowing them to suffer UGH :(

Lysander Proudhon
Lysander Proudhon

Veteran with PTSD here to say; I smoke weed anyway! Oh and also, fuuuuucccckkkk yooooooouuuuuu.

Sarah Bay
Sarah Bay

Stupid. As a survivor of a very traumatic event, cannabis does help with PTSD.

Ryan Hodros
Ryan Hodros

Most Americans don't treat veterans like humans. This doesn't surprise me.

Skye Cameron
Skye Cameron

Shameful. They risk their jobs on a dirty test in many cases, Bloodbelly Blues. Your presumption that Veterans and others with PTSD expect a handout is vile. They only want you function as...well, maybe not YOU...but 'normal' people do without penalty.

Joseph Tee
Joseph Tee

I think they see a lost profit just as any company marketing a booming product would

Don JuanMagic
Don JuanMagic

I whole heartedly agree, and find it sad that victims of trauma can be further traumatized by the Laws surrounding obtaining medicine that really helps.

seanv2026
seanv2026

That is fantastic Ill go ahead and continue to pay out my ass in taxes while someone with a sprained ankle can get there card in a month.

Michael Roque
Michael Roque

They obviously have some buddies in big pharmaceutical companies that would lose money if vets stopped taking prescription meds and instead smoked pot.

Adam Johnson
Adam Johnson

God damn nazis run this country what would you expect, if you want to blaze fuckin blaze, your eyes will be opened to all the lies and bullshit they try to pull over you. Ever heard of the book 1984? It's happening and you don't even realize it, free your head.

Jeff Williams
Jeff Williams

i think there are enough reasons that this is not necessary, these guys went to war willingly and now they want medical weed... it's legal in Colorado and other states have medical so i see no reason to fight this fight

George White
George White

Politicians only care about veterans' PTSD when veterans lose their shit and commit heinous crimes.

Jason Joyce
Jason Joyce

Fuck that. I could only tolerate 7 years of the military largely due to kind of turds they constantly recruit. We don't need anymore turds.

Matt Pyles
Matt Pyles

Well, if marijuana can help them, let the vets use it! I think that marijuana is beneficial to PTSD victims.

Maggie May
Maggie May

It's not about wether or not the VA would cover it, they won't, they don't for other approved conditions. The VA here is doing a study on MMJ for PTSD, but it's pretty small scale, only 50 participants. As anyone 21 can purchase it now, it just levies outrageous taxes on people for medicine. I think greed is always a factor where politics is concerned.

Daisy Rothschild
Daisy Rothschild

@Rob Jennings that is part of the problem: because of it being a Schedule 1 narcotic (which is inaccurate) it cannot in the US be used in clinical trials here. They are looking to change that designation on the Federal level. Other countries are testing and making progress, in one study tumor growth was stopped entirely in mice. With over 300 possibilities, THC may not be the correct cannabinoid, it could be CBD or something else entirely. I don't have PTSD but it's hopeful our vets and others may be helped as medicinal discoveries are approved.

Dev Adams
Dev Adams

As a PTSD sufferer, I can tell you that anything that can help is such a blessing. I am allergic to marijuana myself, but if it can help just one other person with this disorder, it should be allowed.

Rob Jennings
Rob Jennings

There is scant evidence that THC is a valid treatment for PTSD. No science behind the claims.

KathleenChippi
KathleenChippi topcommenter

Rep Conti (Cuntie?...lol) repeated over and over throughout the hearing that vets suffering from PTSD should just lie to their doctors about having a sore back or knee to get their MMJ--so she didn't feel the need to add PTSD. 

Kirby Shane Simmons
Kirby Shane Simmons

I don't know why this is only about vets. People outside the military have PTSD as well.

John Haid
John Haid

Should let Colorado become the veteran state.

John Wolfe
John Wolfe

Anyone that stands in the way of anything, that can help these soldiers, is on the wrong side of the issue

Jason Lothbrok
Jason Lothbrok

I don't think that the argument is on whether or not it's free but that if it can be covered under a VA prescription for a reduced cost. I personally don't know one single Veteran, myself included, that wants a free anything from the government.

Bloodbelly Blues
Bloodbelly Blues

Exactly. it's legal for everyone to buy here. What;s the problem? It's not free?

Phil 'Thrill' Milleville
Phil 'Thrill' Milleville

pot has saved my life more than once. my parents have witnessed the power pot has to calm me down when i have ptsd flares. they used to be anti-pot until i got out of the army.

DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

@seanv2026  "someone with a sprained ankle can get there [sic] card in a month" 


The reason your life sucks is because you're an illiterate ignoramus.



DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

... so what's stopping these Rambos from smoking pot now?


Cowardice? ... Fear? ... too ignorant to simply buy it retail, or too much of an ostracized loser to know a single grower / dealer ?



michael.roberts
michael.roberts moderator editortopcommenter

Succinctly put, Matt. Thanks.

michael.roberts
michael.roberts moderator editortopcommenter

That's the Colorado health department's point of view, too, Rob. Thanks for weighing in.

seanv2026
seanv2026

I agree with you if it is done once a month in a controlled session but if you are serious yeah I agree for personal reasons...I am a vet and feel other vets could benefit greatly from therapy with MDMA.

michael.roberts
michael.roberts moderator editortopcommenter

Good point, Kirby. Thanks.

KathleenChippi
KathleenChippi topcommenter

And there was public comment saying just that.  


They used the Veterans like they use babies.....great for the media. 

DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

... but these shameless pot pimps will pander and exploit pathetic faux-patriotism to promote their never-ending series of lies and deceptions.


michael.roberts
michael.roberts moderator editortopcommenter

Strong post, John. Thanks.

seanv2026
seanv2026

That is a stupid statement they give us free pills all the time.

DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

... so just BUY some recreational marijuana.

DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

... you were mentally unbalanced long before you enlisted in the U$ military war machine.



seanv2026
seanv2026

@michael.roberts  You are a pathetic apologist to say that I was in Iraq twice the last time I was homicidal was when they put me on pills. I now pay out the ass for weed while someone with a sprained ankle can get there card in a month.

seanv2026
seanv2026

@DonkeyHotay  you are unbalanced and you do not smoke weed and have never been to war so what is your excuse?

DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

@seanv2026 ... you were mentally unbalanced long before you went overseas to kill foreign women and children

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