Lawmakers Hope To Provide Vermonters With ‘More Realistic Access’ To Medical Marijuana
More than 2,000 people in Vermont are enrolled in the state’s medical marijuana registry, but some lawmakers say many eligible patients still have trouble obtaining medical cannabis.
Proposed legislation would lower some of the barriers to access.
Bennington County Sen. Dick Sears, chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, got an email last week from a 70-year-old constituent with glaucoma.
“He can’t get his eye doctor to fill the card that he needs in order to get medical marijuana, because evidently the eye doctor isn’t as familiar with the program as he could be,” Sears says.
Vermont’s medical marijuana law has undergone numerous changes since lawmakers first adopted the program back in 2004. The state now has four medical marijuana dispensaries. And the list of conditions eligible for legal cannabis treatments has grown considerably.
Sears, however, says stories like the one from his elderly constituent demonstrate that hurdles to remain. And he says a bill he and others plan to introduce in January will help patients clear them.
“It just provides more realistic access and more conditions that might be able to be treated … with medical cannabis,” Sears says.
The latest version of the bill would open up the legal cannabis pipeline to people suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder and Parkinson’s disease. It would, in fact, allow a patient to qualify for the registry for any medical condition or symptom, so long as their doctor thinks cannabis might help ease their suffering.
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