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The Rhode Island General Assembly voted on June 16 to approve legislation introduced by Sen. Stephen Archambault, D-Johnston, and Rep. Scott Slater, D-Providence, that would add post-traumatic stress disorder to the list of conditions that may be treated with medical marijuana. At the time this story was written, the measure is on Governor Raimondo’s desk for her consideration and signature or veto.
The legislative bills, 2016-S 2115 and 2016-H 7142, add post-traumatic stress disorder to the definition of "debilitating medical condition" for purposes of qualifying for medical marijuana in the Edward O. Hawkins and Thomas C. Slater Medical Marijuana Act.
"Medical marijuana is already the law of Rhode Island. We’ve already established that it works in treating certain conditions," Archambault said. "It is unconscionable that we would not add PTSD to the list of medical conditions that would benefit from it. Post-traumatic stress disorder is a very real psychological problem, particularly among our veteran community, and it’s our responsibility to provide them with treatment options that can alleviate their suffering."
According to a report from the Department of Veterans Affairs, nearly 30 percent of veterans who served in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars suffer from PTSD. Some scientists have suggested that marijuana may help alleviate PTSD symptoms including anxiety, flashbacks and depression.
"Study after study continues to find useful medical applications for marijuana, including helping those with crippling ailments such as PTSD and those that are suffering incredible pain at the end of their lives," Slater said. "Both those with PTSD and those in hospice care deserve our compassion toward their suffering and if marijuana helps ease their pain, it is our responsibility to allow legal access to marijuana for these patients in the hopes that their lives become as comfortable as possible."
The bill would also accelerate the issuance of an approved medical marijuana use application if the patient is eligible for hospice care. It would require the Rhode Island Department of Health to issue a registry identification card to the qualifying patient and primary caregivers named in the patient’s application within 72 hours of receipt of the completed application.
According to the Department of Health, more than 10,000 people in the state carry medical marijuana cards to treat an approved list of conditions, including cancer, glaucoma, AIDS, hepatitis C, Crohn’s disease and Alzheimer’s, among others.
Partnership for women vets
The Department of Veterans Affairs’ Center for Women Veterans recently announced a partnership with LeanIn.Org, the nonprofit organization founded by Facebook Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg to empower women to achieve their ambitions. Building on the successful launch of LeanIn.Org circles within the Department of Defense, VA is following the same model to increase support to women veterans.
The VA initiative is called the LeanIn.Org Women Veterans’ chapter and is composed of two pilot programs: the Veteran-to-Veteran program, a virtual program, which allows any woman veteran to participate, no matter where she is located, and a face-to-face pilot circle.
Virtual meetings will be moderated and attended by women veterans throughout the United States and the pilot circle is an innovative hybrid of women veterans and non-military members providing an environment for both to learn and share leadership skills.
Kayla Williams, director of VA’s Center for Women Veterans, said, "For many years, women veterans have expressed to us that they need to have a mechanism to engage with their fellow women veterans to make a difference in their community and we believe this is the perfect match. VA is pleased to be a part of these two pilot programs."
"Women are the fastest growing population of our nation's veterans and, through this Circles program, these women will have the peer support and community they need to reach their goals," said Ashley Finch, LeanIn.Org, head of partnerships. For more information about the LeanIn.org Women Veterans chapter, visit online at www.LeanIn.Org/womenvets and http://leaninseattle.org/veterans.
Artist honors father’s service
Artist Margaret F. Ralston was inspired by her father’s valiant war record in World War II and learned how to paint in order to tell his war story in North Africa and Italy. Her oil paintings are now on exhibit with free admission until the end of the month at the Barrington Library on County Road just past the town hall. The paintings are hanging in the hall just past the reference desk. Her father, Major C. Evans Ralston, is buried in Arlington National Cemetery.
Each painting has an explanatory history beside it along with military maps embedded in some so the viewer can better understand the action depicted. Maj. Ralston served in the Army’s 1st Cavalry, 1st Armored Division and 1st Special Forces. The artist and retired science teacher calls her paintings, some three and four-feet wide, "a tribute to a fallen hero who fought bravely for his county … (and their) pleasant landscapes with warm colors will appeal to veterans and all who see them."
Story Source: The above story is based on materials provided by PROVIDENCEJOURNAL
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