Tag Archives: New York medical cannabis

David Feldman

NY Adds PTSD to Medical Cannabis Conditions

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo yesterday signed a bill into law permitting those suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) to access legal medical cannabis. It was particularly symbolic that the bill was signed on Veterans’ Day, since many battle-scarred veterans suffer from PTSD. Most states with medical cannabis permit its use to treat PTSD. New York remains one of the most restrictive states in limiting what ailments trigger the right to obtain this treatment.

The PTSD bill was one of five that Cuomo signed yesterday aimed to help veterans. He did not specifically comment on the PTSD bill in his press release. But the release did note that it appears as many as 19,000 New Yorkers with PTSD could benefit from this treatment. The release further acknowledged that PTSD victims include “military veterans, police officers and fire fighters, as well as survivors of domestic violence, rape, violent crime, and accidents.” Here in NY, I know folks who would want to add “survivors of terrorist attacks.”

The irony is that those same veterans cannot access medical cannabis through the free VA hospital system as long as cannabis use remains a federal crime. Therefore, these too often financially struggling vets have to go out of pocket to access this medicine. However, many simply may not be able to afford it. In 2010 the VA did make clear that vets accessing legal medical cannabis in their state outside the VA system are not at risk of losing their VA benefits. But the VA itself still cannot offer cannabis to vets.

Veterans groups like the American Legion have been lobbying for the VA directly to supply cannabis. They argue that the VA provides highly addictive opioids, whereas medical cannabis can help vets avoid these dangerous drugs. Let us hope that it is not too long before those who served our country can access all the help they need from our federal government.

Know the Law: The Legal Side of a Cannabis Business

Join Duane Morris’ Patricia Heer at the October 12 NYC Women Grow event, “Know the Law: The Legal Side of a Cannabis Business,” in Duane Morris’ New York office, starting at 6:30 p.m.

The panel discussion will address the legal issues that current, future or ancillary businesses need to consider when working in the cannabis space.


Patricia H. Heer Special Counsel, Duane Morris, LLP

Deanna Clark-Esposito, Managing Attorney, Clark-Esposito Law Firm, P.C.

Lauren Rudick, Partner, Hiller, PC

For more information and to register, visit the event website.

New York Adds Chronic Pain to Medical Marijuana List

In a major development for New York, its Department of Health officially approved a regulation, first proposed in December, to allow people with “any severe debilitating pain that the practitioner determines degrades health and functional capability” that has lasted or is expected to last at least three months to access legal medical marijuana. The state separately also approved allowing physician’s assistants to prescribe medical cannabis under certain conditions.

New York State started with one of the smallest lists of ailments that can be treated with medical cannabis, taking a very limited approach at first. So this is a very positive step, though observers are hoping things like PTSD also would be added, as New Jersey recently did. New York also looked at Alzheimer’s, muscular dystrophy, dystonia, and rheumatoid arthritis but has not decided to add them yet.

One of the few maladies that has actually been researched, chronic pain has been shown to be meaningfully aided by cannabis and a much safer option than opioids, which are often addictive. Now what we need: more research! A lot is going on in Canada, Israel and other places, but hopefully the DEA will continue to ease restrictions on research here in the