EXPANDED USE OF MEDICAL MARIJUANA

By Bob Katzen

A bill that would add Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and opioid use disorder to the current list of conditions for which a doctor could prescribe medical marijuana, is stuck in the Committee on Health Care Financing which gave it a favorable report on March 24. The bill is a redrafted different version of an earlier bill, sponsored by Rep. Michael Soter (R-Bellingham), designed to expand access to medical marijuana for veterans.

“This legislation is the result of a collaboration with a constituent of mine, Stephen Mandile, who is a veteran, local elected official and father,” said Soter. “The initial intent of the bill was to expand access to medical marijuana for veterans. However, I am disappointed to say that specific veteran-related pieces of the original bill were removed during the committee process, the scope of the bill has changed and the current language works to benefit a broader population while straying away from the initial intent of a strong veteran-centric bill.

Beacon Hill Roll Call asked Soter several times whether he supports the new version of the bill since his version is now essentially dead. Soter’s “non-answer” came from his chief of staff Eric Eisner. ““The representative stated that he is disappointed that the veteran-centric language within the bill has been stripped out during the committee process,” said Eisner. Further, this is not the first session that this legislation has been presented. “

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