Delaware Amends Medical Marijuana Law to Increase Access for Veterans with PTSD

Delaware Amends Medical Marijuana Law to Increase Access for Veterans with PTSD

Yesterday, Delaware Gov. John Carney signed Senate Bill 24, making it easier for Delaware veterans, and others, who are suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) to access medical marijuana.

The original law required PTSD patients to receive authorization from a psychiatrist before they could obtain medical cannabis. However, Senate Bill 24 drops this stipulation and allows PTSD sufferers to gain access through their physician just like all the other conditions in the program.  A critical shortage of licensed psychiatrists in Delaware prevented many veterans from gaining access to medical marijuana as an option for treating their PTSD.

This change to SB24 is viewed as an act of compassion to veterans residing in Delaware.  Sen. Margaret Rose Henry (D-Wilmington East), the bill’s sponsor, said in an interview with local radio station WDEL, “We want to help our veterans. This is a fairness issue. They’ve given so much to us to protect us. This is the least we can do to help them.”

According to the National Center for PTSD, symptoms of the illness include reliving the traumatic event in flashbacks or nightmares, avoidance of reminders of the event, constant anxiety, trust issues, and trouble sleeping.

U.S. military veterans make up approximately 8% of Delaware’s total population. The VA estimates that up to 30% of Vietnam veterans have experienced PTSD in their life, along with 12% of the first Gulf War veterans, and up to 20% of veterans from operations Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom.

At Thursday’s signing, Governor Carney signaled his strong support for the bill when he said, “This is a common-sense, and compassionate amendment to Delaware’s medical marijuana law that will expand access to treatment for Delaware veterans and others who live every day with the effects of post-traumatic stress disorder. Thank you to Senator Henry, Representative Baumbach, Representative Keeley, and all members of the General Assembly for their leadership on this issue.”