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Cuomo signs legislation aiding veterans with PTSD

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo in Holbrook Monday, Oct.

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo in Holbrook Monday, Oct. 30, 2017. Credit: Howard Schnapp

Members of the U.S. military suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder will now be able to acquire medical marijuana to treat their condition as part of a series of bills signed Saturday by Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo in honor of Veterans Day.

The legislation would allow members of the Armed Forces, police officers, firefighters and victims of rape, domestic violence and other violent crimes to access the state’s new medical marijuana program.

Cuomo’s office estimates that up to 19,000 New Yorkers could benefit from the change.

“Our veterans risked their lives in order to defend the ideals and principles that this nation was founded upon, and it is our duty to do everything we can to support them when they return home,” Cuomo said in a statement.

Medical pot is currently legal in New York to treat a dozen ailments, including cancer, Parkinson’s disease, epilepsy, multiple sclerosis, HIV, AIDS and Lou Gehrig’s disease.

PTSD often involves a patient suffering from flashbacks, nightmares, insomnia and numbing after experiencing a traumatic stress event. Virtually every state in the nation with a medical marijuana program allows for the treatment of PTSD.

Cuomo signed four additional bills Saturday increasing services for veterans or honoring members of the Armed Forces.

One bill, sponsored by state Sen. Tom Croci (R-Sayville), provides combat veterans working for the state with eight additional days of paid time off to obtain medical services, counseling and access to other benefits.

Currently, public employees with military experience are provided paid leave to perform any type of military duty, totaling 30 calendar days or 22 working days.

Additional legislation signed by Cuomo would waive the Civil Service examination fee for veterans who were honorably discharged; require the state to maintain a public list of all not-for-profit groups that solicit funds for the military and set aside a chair in the State Capitol for POWs who are considered missing in action since World War I.

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