concerns about the impact on veterans participating in Rhode Island’s medical
marijuana program, three advocacy
organizations have submitted testimony expressing strong opposition to a Department of Human Services
proposal that would ban the use of “narcotics prohibited by federal law” at the
Veterans’ Home in Bristol. The organizations are the ACLU of RI, the RI
Patient Advocacy Coalition and Protect Families First. The group testimony
notes that, as currently worded, DHS’ proposal would prevent resident veterans
from using medical marijuana that state law explicitly allows them to use for
their medical condition.
2006, Rhode Island has authorized the use of medical marijuana for a variety of
medical conditions. Even more pertinent, two years ago the General Assembly
approved important legislation specifically allowing individuals suffering from
post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) to use medical marijuana to ease their
symptoms. Passage of that amendment was prompted in large part by the plight of
veterans suffering from PTSD.
group’s written testimony to DHS cites recent news coverage highlighting the
use of medical marijuana for the relief of PTSD and for alleviating what some
are calling a suicide epidemic among veterans. The testimony argues that DHS’ proposal
“would actually amount to a step backward in addressing this literal
life-or-death issue for our state’s veterans.” The organizations have requested
that the provision be eliminated and that the regulations be clarified so as
not to negatively impact veterans who participate in and benefit from the
State’s medical marijuana program.
the testimony was submitted earlier this month, the New England Veterans
Alliance, a non-profit organization that advocates on behalf of veterans for
improved access to medical cannabis therapies, has also expressed its
opposition to the regulation.
text of the testimony can be found here: