Arizona’s top health official is considering whether people suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder should be allowed to use medical marijuana. Such a decision could amount to a big win for veterans and medical marijuana advocates. Will Humble’s consideration of the issue comes after an administrative law judge on Wednesday recommended state officials allow those with PTSD to use medical marijuana, reversing Humble’s earlier denial. In the past, Humble, director of the Arizona Department of Health Services, has rejected allowing the disorder as a condition that qualifies for legal medical marijuana use, saying there is insufficient research on pot’s effects on PTSD.
Since the inception of the state’s medical marijuana program, veterans and medical marijuana advocates have pushed state health officials to allow PTSD to qualify as a condition. In the past, some veterans have told The Arizona Republic the drug regimes their doctors have put them on are ineffective and have caused damage to organs. Humble addressed the judge’s Wednesday decision in his blog Thursday night, writing, “I have until July 9 to either accept, reject or modify the recommended decision. I’ll be studying the report and will make a decision after analyzing the Decision and Order.” Humble wrote that last year, he denied a petition to add PTSD to the list of debilitating medical conditions that qualify people for an Arizona Medical Marijuana Registration Card. He cited the lack of scientific evidence to document whether cannabis is helpful in treating the disorder.
Earlier this year, he wrote, a group of people appealed his decision to the Arizona Office of Administrative Hearings. Following a hearing, Administrative Law Judge Thomas Shedden recommended Humble change his position. Arizona voters approved the state’s medical marijuana in 2010. About 40,000 participate in the program. The current medical conditions that qualify include cancer, chronic pain and glaucoma. Arizona voters are expected to be asked whether the state should legalize marjiuana for recreational use in 2016.