Vermont has expanded access to its medical marijuana program in a new law signed by Gov. Peter Shumlin. (Denver Post file)

Vermont’s medical pot program just expanded

Patients with glaucoma, chronic pain and those in hospice care can now use cannabis in treatment options.

MONTPELIER, Vt. — Democratic Gov. Peter Shumlin has signed into law a bill expanding the medical conditions that can allow a Vermont patient to be prescribed marijuana for treatment of symptoms. Added to the list are patients with chronic pain, glaucoma and those in hospice care.

Marijuana had been allowed for severe pain, but not pain that was less severe but chronic. Critics of that situation complained that patients could more easily obtain prescription opiates for pain treatment than marijuana.

In signing the bill, Shumlin said opiate addiction has become a severe problem in Vermont and around the country. He says if much-less addictive marijuana can be used instead, that can address patients’ pain without the threat of severe addiction.