Starting on Friday, doctors in Colorado will be able to legally recommend medical cannabis for patients who might otherwise get prescribed opioids.
That’s thanks to a new law signed in May by Democratic Gov. Jared Polis that makes Colorado the third state in the country (New York and Illinois are the other two) to permit doctors to do that.
The law opens the door for patients to seek medical marijuana for all conditions in which they might be dealt an opioid prescription, representing a major expansion for the treatment in the state. Previously under Colorado’s medical marijuana law, patients could receive a cannabis prescription for the following qualifying debilitating medical conditions: cancer, glaucoma, HIV or AIDS, cachexia, persistent muscle spasms, seizures, severe nausea, and severe pain.
The new law is both a victory for cannabis advocates, and a remedy for a nationwide opioid crisis. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, more than 130 people die in America each day from overdosing on opioids. Those gut-wrenching statistics have driven activists, lawmakers and physicians to call for an expansion in medical cannabis.
Democratic state Rep. Eddie Hooton, who co-sponsored the bill that was signed into law by Polis, told NBC