Soldiers returning from service suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder were given a special Veteran’s Day gift by New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo.
Cuomo signed several pieces of legislation over the weekend to support New York veterans by improving healthcare services, including a bill that adds PTSD as a qualifying condition in New York’s medical marijuana program.
Cuomo said nearly 20,000 New Yorkers with PTSD may benefit from the legalization of medical marijuana.
"This includes military veterans, police officers and firefighters, as well as survivors of domestic violence, rape, violent crime, and accidents," he said. "Virtually every state in the country with a medical marijuana program allows for treatment of PTSD."
Other bills include conditions allowing combat veterans employed by the state additional days of paid leave to obtain health and counseling services and the waiving of civil service examination fees for honorably discharged veterans.
Additionally, the Department of State and Division of Military and Naval Affairs must maintain a public list of all not-for-profit corporations that solicit funds for the armed forces. The Office of General Services must also set aside a publicly accessible location at the State Capitol Building for a POW/MIA chair and plaque to honor veterans that have not returned home.
“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 when announcing the legislation. “From improving access to healthcare treatments and services, to removing barriers to employment, all five of these bills take important steps to ensure that veterans have every opportunity to continue succeeding when they return home.”
“It is our duty to help veterans transition home, including those suffering from PTSD,” New York State Assembly Health Committee Chair Richard Gottfried added. “With many New Yorkers struggling with the effects of this condition, I commend the Governor for signing this bill to provide access to treatment that works. Men and women who have lived through traumatic events will now have the means to live a quality life.”
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