New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo marked Veterans Day by signing a package of bills into law on Saturday, including a measure to add post-traumatic stress disorder to the state’s list of qualifying conditions for medical marijuana.
“Our veterans risked their lives in order to defend the ideals and principles that this nation was founded upon,” Cuomo said, “and it is our duty to do everything we can to support them when they return home.”
“PTSD is a serious problem facing our state, and now we have one more tool available to alleviate suffering.”
Bob Becker, New York State Council of Veterans Organizations
The bipartisan measure earned overwhelming support in the state Legislature earlier this year, winning landslide Assembly approval (131–8) in May and passing through the Senate (50–13) in June. As many as 19,000 New Yorkers with PTSD could be helped by medical marijuana, the Democratic governor said, including veterans as well as police officers and survivors of domestic violence, crime, and accidents.
In a statement, the bill’s sponsor, state Rep. Richard N. Gottfried (D-Manhattan), said Cuomo’s signing of the bill “reflects growing recognition of the value of medical marijuana, and is another welcome step in the expanding and strengthening of New York’s medical marijuana program.”
Leafly List: The Best Cannabis Locations in North America, Fall 2017
Veterans advocates also cheered the news. Many had previously warned that if Cuomo rejected the bill, those suffering from PTSD would be forced to turn to the illicit market or move out of the state in order to seek access to cannabis.
“Gov. Cuomo should be applauded for helping thousands of New York veterans find relief with medical marijuana,” said Bob Becker, legislative director for the New York State Council of Veterans Organizations. “PTSD is