BUFFALO, NY - The legislative session in Albany officially ended last week and medical marijuana advocacy groups are wondering where one of the laws that was passed stands.
The bill would add post-traumatic stress disorder to the list of conditions allowed to be treated with medical marijuana.
That bill has been sitting in the Assembly for nine days, awaiting to be sent to Governor Cuomo's desk. People who suffer from PTSD tell us, they want the bill to become law right now.
As a domestic abuse survivor, Melissa Gopl of Amherst has suffered from post traumatic stress for more than 17 years. She says PTSD affects her every single day.
"The biggest thing I deal with is anxiety and pain when your body is consistently under that fear signal your muscles are intense and you have a lot of pain," she said.She says medication and counseling haven't helped get her symptoms consistently under control. And she's curious about whether medical marijuana could help.
Experts say medical marijuana could help those with PTSD."For PTSD, there's an imbalance in the brain where cannabis can actually potentially be more beneficial than current pharmaceutical products that are on the market," said Daniel Ryszka, a registered pharmacist.
Lisa Valle, the co-founder of Medical Cannabis Connection of NY says there's frustration out there among people who suffer from PTSD who aren't allowed to be treated with medical marijuana in the state. That's because PTSD is not a condition currently permitted under the state's medical marijuana program."There are a lot of people that do come up to us and want to know when it's going to be approved, what's the timeline," Valle said.
A bill that would add PTSD as a qualifying condition passed the Assembly and the Senate. But, according to Governor Cuomo's Office, the Assembly still needs to send the bill to his desk. Assembly member Mickey Kearns is a co-sponsor of the bill."I'll be pushing and calling and advocating to make sure that this gets to the governor's desk for his signature," Kearns said.
Folks like Melissa and many veterans suffering from PTSD are relying on lawmakers and the governor to get this done. If the bill is sent to the governor's desk, he would have 10 days to sign it or veto the bill. If he signs it, PTSD would be added to the state's medical marijuana program immediately.