Governor Signs Five Bills, Adding PTSD as a Qualifying Condition for Medical Marijuana, Waiving Fees and Improving Services for Veterans, and Creating POW/MIA Memorial Announces New York’s First-Ever Veteran License Plate with Service Branch Available in Celebration of Veterans Day
Earlier today, while at the Veterans Day Parade in New York City, Governor Cuomo announced five pieces of legislation signed to further support New York veterans by improving healthcare and services, as well as memorialize veterans in New York State. More information is available here.
The Governor also announced that new service branch-specific license plates are available for the U.S. Army, U.S. Navy, U.S. Air Force, U.S. Coast Guard and U.S. Marines. The new custom plates, available for the first time in New York, join a number of others offered in the Veteran and Military series, including the Purple Heart Recipient, Vietnam Veteran and War on Terror Veteran license plates. More information is available here.
VIDEO of the Governor's remarks is available on YouTube here and in TV quality (h.264, mp4) format here.
AUDIO of the Governor's remarks available here.
PHOTOS will be available on the Governor’s Flickr page.
A rush transcript of the Governor's remarks is included below.
Thank you all. The parade is a little held up, so we’re going to move ahead because some people find it chilly. Not me, but some people find it a little chilly today. I want to thank you Colonel Eric Hesse, who’s the Director of the Division of Veterans’ Affairs for being here. Enrique Sanchez, who’s the former President of the BVA. Warner Murray, who’s the current President of the BVA New York City Regional Group. We have Colonel Stephen Bousquet with us, who’s the commander of the 369th Sustainment Brigade of the National Guard. They just came back from Kuwait. We want to thank them for their service. And Colonel Robert Mitchell of the National Guard.
Today is Veterans Day. The message is very, very simple. We have tremendous respect and honor and gratitude for what the veterans have done for this country. This country is not this country without the work of the veterans. And their sacrifice and their courage is the highest form of patriotism. In many ways I think this country has not reciprocated. What we’ve said to the veterans is we appreciate your service and when you come back home we’ll be there for you. And I don’t think that promise has been fully fulfilled by this country. And hopefully that will change.
The National Guard not only does phenomenal work overseas, whenever we have a problem in this country the National Guard turns out. In New York we’ve been very grateful to the service they’ve done.
As a symbol of our appreciation in the State of New York for veterans, we’re starting a new series of license plates, what we call the Honor Series. And a New York State veteran, there are 770,00 veterans in New York State, can now get a special license plate that honors their service for each branch of the service and if they apply and say that they are a veteran of one of those branches of the service, they can get a license plate that honors that service. And I think it’s not only an honor for the veterans who would have the license plate, but something that all New Yorkers can appreciate and thank them for.
We are also today signing a piece of legislation that will add PTSD to the list of conditions covered for medical marijuana. Many of our veterans are suffering from PTSD and the medical community has determined that marijuana can be a helpful treatment in some areas and part of our commitment to do everything we can do. If there are veterans that are suffering and we can make a treatment available, we want to. So, I am going to sign that law today and as of today, marijuana will be legalize if a doctor authorizes and finds the condition of PTSD for a veteran and I think that can help thousands of veterans. It’s something that we’ve been talking about for a long time and I’m glad we’re taking action today.
Again, we honor our veterans, but we have to get to the place where remember that the honor is not one day a year, but for 365 days a year, and part of that is showing the same level of commitment and gratitude to our veterans as our veterans showed to this nation. So, I want to thank them all for being here.