NBC 9 News Colorado: State Approves Funding for Medical Pot Research

Summary: NBC 9 News Colorado broadcasts a report announcing how a collection of planned studies into the benefits of medical marijuana have been awarded a combined total of $8 million in government funding from the Colorado Board of Health. The televised segment includes an inside look into the growing public approval for increased research into the beneficial effects of medical marijuana through interviews with Colorado residents.

Originally appearing here.

The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment approved eight grants totaling $8 million on Wednesday that will support medical marijuana research efforts.

The state legislature authorized CDPHE to use $9 million, generated by medical marijuana registration fees, to fund the research. The additional $1 million could fund additional research in the future.

The vote was unanimous by the board, after testimony from a number of people for and against the funding. Perhaps the most emotional came when Wendy Turner, whose son has Chron’s disease.

“It’s really important that we get money to fund these kids,” she said through tears to the board.

Her son Coltyn moved with the family to Colorado specifically for treatment which the fourteen year old says has been very successful.

“In December I was in a wheelchair. This summer I was hiking up mountains,” Coltyn said.

It was a packed room. Also in attendance, members of a group called Patient Caregiver and Rights Litigation Project. They are suing CDPHE for using these funds to fund research.

The group argues that a state audit revealed the initial fee for medical marijuana cards were too high, and that the registry, which should be confidential, is not.

“I don’t feel that patients who were overcharged with registry processing fees on a confidential registry should pay for it. Especially when millions of it is going to go out of state,” said Kathleen Chippi with the group.

Chippi says the money should go back to those patients. But many in attendance would argue that in one way or another it will go back to the patients through these studies. The studies aim to examine the effectiveness of medical cannabis on patients with childhood epilepsy, post-traumatic stress disorder, Parkinson’s disease, inflammatory bowel disease, and pediatric brain tumors.

Chris Latona, a veteran with PTSD and a medical marijuana user, was relieved to hear that more research will be done. He says enough studies have been done internationally. He recognizes that some of the money is going outside the state, but that’s OK.

“We need proven research so it can be accepted to the VA at a federal level. That’s critical of the United States. We need a U.S. study done not an international study done. And in the heart of the country with people that are suffering,” said Latona.

Dr. Sue Sisley is one of the researchers who will be getting a chunk of this funding. The former University of Arizona researcher has done extensive research on the effect of medical marijuana and PTSD. She says today is a big victory that will allow her continue doing that research.

“When it comes to studying the effectiveness of marijuana, how useful is marijuana in treating a certain illness, this is it. Colorado has provided almost $9 million to finally answer these crucial questions,” said Sisley.