Vermont Gov. Peter Shumlin signed into law legislation expanding the list of qualifying conditions eligible for treatment with medical marijuana, a move that will benefit local dispensaries by significantly increasing the program’s patient base.
The new law adds glaucoma and chronic pain to the list of approved conditions, while patients under hospice care also are eligible to use medical cannabis, the Associated Press reported.
Existing conditions include wasting syndrome, cancer, HIV/AIDS, multiple sclerosis, seizures, severe pain, and severe nausea, according to the bill.
The new law also mandates childproof packaging and increased labeling for marijuana-infused products sold at dispensaries.
Shumlin said one reason he signed the bill was to help fight the state’s opiate addiction problem, because medical cannabis can be used to treat pain-related conditions which many people currently treat with opiate painkillers.
“At a time when opiate addiction is ravaging our state and drug companies continue to urge our doctors to pass out painkillers like candy, we need to find a more practical solution to pain management. This bill ensures that Vermonters who are suffering will have access to medicine that is high quality, laboratory tested, and most importantly non-addictive,” Shumlin said, according to Vermont Business Magazine.