Vets with PTSD sue Colorado for blocking medical pot prescriptions

© David McNew
Five people with PTSD are bringing a lawsuit against Colorado over its decision not to allow their condition to be treated under the state’s medical marijuana program, even though the substance is already legal in the state for recreational purposes.

The plaintiffs include four war veterans and one victim of sexual assault who filed the suit on Wednesday and asked that a judge overturn the Colorado Board of Health’s July decision.

All of them self-medicated by smoking pot for their trauma and were prescribed additional drugs for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). All five of them say medical marijuana has relieved their symptoms more effectively, and with fewer side effects, than the prescription drugs.

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Attorneys argue in the complaint that the plaintiffs’ access to appropriate medicinal strains of marijuana has been “severely impeded” by the medical board’s refusal to recognize PTSD as a condition that is appropriate for medical marijuana recommendations.

The exclusion of PTSD from the list was made despite a recommendation from Colorado’s chief medical officer Dr. Larry Wolk. The panel ultimately struck it down with a 6-2 vote, citing insufficient federal research.

The board has 21 days to file their answer, according to attorneys for the plaintiffs, so no hearing on the complaint has been scheduled.

Colorado allows adults 21 years of age and older to buy pot for recreational use, much like alcohol. The difference between medical and recreational marijuana comes from taxation and possession restrictions. Recreational marijuana is taxed at almost 10 times the rate of medical marijuana, and medical patients are allowed to possess two ounces of marijuana, instead of the single ounce that is allowed for recreational use.