New Jersey Governor signs Marijuana Bill for PTSD Treatment

Posted by Sagar Satapathy on September 17, 2016.

In a major development, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie on Wednesday approved a bill that would allow people suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) to use marijuana for medical purposes.

The Republican Governor signed Assembly Bill 457, making it legal for military veterans and other people suffering from PTSD to participate in the state’s medical marijuana program, when conventional therapy is ineffective.

Ironically, Christie had turned down a petition submitted by Coalition Medical Marijuana New Jersey to add PTSD in the list of several ailments that qualify for marijuana use two years ago. But a month and a half after the bipartisan bill was sent for his consideration, he signed it with a statement explaining the reasons.

Christie cited that federal Department of Veterans Affairs estimate up to 20 percent of veterans, who fought in Iraq and Afghanistan over the past decade, suffer from PTSD.

 “The new law is intended to “provide struggling veterans and others with the ability to use medical marijuana to treat PTSD, but only after it has been determined by a physician or psychiatrist that conventional medical therapy is ineffective”, Christie said in a statement.

However, the Governor directed the state’s health commissioner to promulgate additional regulations that provide “clear objective criteria” regarding medical marijuana for PTSD and to prevent further misuse.

Vince Mazzeo (D., Atlantic), a primary sponsor of the bill, said that “post-9/11 veterans are the group most affected by PTSD” and that there are about 428,000 veterans in New Jersey.

The new measure says, PTSD is a mental health condition triggered by a traumatic event such as a physical or sexual assault, childhood neglect or physical abuse, a natural disaster, exposure to combat, or other extreme or life-threatening events.

The Marijuana program, according to the new measure, is also available to people with multiple sclerosis, terminal cancer, and a handful of other conditions as well.

New Jersey is the 18th state to allow medical marijuana to be used for PTSD treatment.

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