Perhaps this petition will spark a fire under Gov. Chris Christie.
The New Jersey governor has had a piece of legislature on his desk since Aug. 1 that would add post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) as a condition qualified to receive medicinal marijuana. Assembly Bill 457 passed through the full legislature last month by an overwhelming vote: 29 to 9 in the Senate and 56 to 13 in the Assembly.
Now Christie has two options: sign the bill into law or veto it.
More than 18,000 people have signed a Change.org petition urging the governor to "quickly sign this measure into law," saying it will allow "those suffering from PTSD to use a medicine that research has continued to show is beneficial, and a condition that affects 7.7 million people nationwide."
The petition was created by The Joint Blog, a news and information site focused on cannabis. They're aiming for 25,000 signatures.
If Christie passes the bill, New Jersey would become the 13th state to allow medical marijuana to be used to treat PTSD, an issue that has been dubbed the most divisive medical pot issue of 2016.
According to the National Institutes of Health, more than 7.7 million people suffer from the effects of PTSD, which can include "unwanted memories of the event, bad dreams, emotional numbness, intense guilt or worry, angry outbursts, feeling 'on edge,' and avoiding thoughts and situations that are reminders of the trauma."
Even worse, it seems to disproportionately affect members of the military. Sixty-seven percent of Iraq and Afghanistan veterans in the Army suffer from PTSD. And almost 85 percent of PTSD-diagnosed Vietnam veterans are currently suffering from "moderate impairment," according to NerdWallet.
Still, several studies have found that use of marijuana can affect the central nervous system, including increasing pleasure and changing memory processes — which can alleviate PTSD's core symptoms, especially in military veterans.