Posted: Sep 27, 2012 6:27 PM by Andy Koen
Updated: Sep 27, 2012 8:31 PM
A small group of protestors calling themselves Veterans for 64 staged a rally outside of the El Paso County Court house Thursday afternoon to voice their support for Amendment 64, the marijuana legalization initiative.
Retired Air Force pilot Bob Wiley says the group wants to legalize the drug, in part, because the state currently doesn't recognize it as a legitimate treatment for post traumatic stress disorder.
"A veteran suffering from PTSD cannot legally access marijuana to treat their PTSD through the state medical marijuana program."
Wiley says petitions to the state health department to add PTSD to the list of qualifying conditions have gone unanswered.
"They not only didn't hold the hearings, they refused to hold them," Wiley said. "They just stone-walled us."
Mark Salley, the Communications Director of for the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, said that's not true. He said the department is still reviewing the most recent request and added that a previous request was denied because it didn't meet the criteria established by Amendment 20 which requires appropriate medical studies proving the drug effectively treats the disorder.
Opponents of the Amendment 64 also point out that marijuana will still be illegal under federal law no matter what Colorado voters do.
"When Colorado does something like this that places us at direct odds with federal law, it means we're going to get sucked into a long series of legal and court cases that are going to cost money and that quite frankly we're probably going to lose," said Laura Chapin, spokesperson for the No on 64 campaign
Veterans for 64 is not legally incorporated as a non-profit organization, nor is not registered as a political action committee. Wiley says they formed the group just a few days ago.
Amendment 64 asks voters to allow anyone over the age of 21 to legally buy and use marijuana. It would also allow the legislature to tax the sale of the drug with the money collected being used to fund schools.