Medical Marijuana: Veterans and Laws
Our United States veterans have served our country without limit. They left their families to fight for freedom so all Americans can live free. Many returned with debilitating ailments and were given prescription drugs that have done more harm than good. Medical marijuana must be legalized to help our veterans and all Americans, where prescription drugs are causing overdoses and severe damage to vital organs. Many veterans are finally being heard by a handful of Senators are who are working to make medical marijuana available to Americans, especially our veterans. Unfortunately, many Americans are losing everything because of the marijuana laws that need to be changed.
According to an article in The Daily Star Journal, there was a man named, Daryl Bertrand who lived in Montana, he is an American who achieved his dream with hard work. He injured himself in 2003 and almost overdosed on the prescription medications prescribed and he suffered liver and kidney failure several times. He turned to medical marijuana. Unfortunately, his state was not a state that approved medical marijuana and when the police found out, his home was raided. No large grow was found, no weapons, no large amounts of cash. Just he and his wife with his for private use marijuana plants. Both were charged with a Class B Felony, growing (not for sale) a controlled substance, and recently are off parole. Daryl and his wife lost everything. They lost their home, their business, their friends. They changed their names in attempt to keep his business going and it failed. They now live in what many refer to as a ghetto. He is not able to utilize medical marijuana for fear of serving 8 years in prison. So Bertand endures his unbearable pain and when it is cold, due to the metal in his body, the pain is “cruel and unusual punishment.” This is a sad reality of any American who does not live in a state where medical marijuana is legal. Laws must be changed.
“There’s a reason for (medical marijuana.) A meta-analysis of 79 studies in The Journal of the American Medical Association found solid evidence that medical marijuana is effective in treating chronic pain. There’s no evidence of serious side effects among medical marijuana users, who are actually less likely to drink or take other pain killers and those states with medical marijuana actually have fewer overdose deaths,” according to Senator Blumenauer, (“Blumenauer: Medical Marijuana Could Help Solve Opioid Epidemic.”)Yet VA doctors are prescribing more opioids to PTSD and depression patients knowing these patients are more likely to overdose and/or commit suicide. Blumenauer continues to say, “Of the nearly 1 million veterans who receive opioid treatment for pain, over half continue to consume those pills beyond 90 days,” hence the probability of addiction to these opioids which can lead to depression then to overdose or suicide. Plus the damage it does to the liver and kidneys. Some of that damage is irreparable. Blumenauer has seen the value of Medical Marijuana and is getting other Senators involved to free millions of American Veterans and Americans from unnecessary pain, stress, anxiety, depression and so much more.
Blumenauer also stated to the House floor, “Medical marijuana appears safer, effective, and a low-cost way to deal with chronic pain. Nobody dies form an overdose of medical marijuana. Let’s add medical marijuana to our discussion, promote more effective research, and let VA doctors meet with their patients to talk about this as an alternative.” (“Blumenauer: Medical Marijuana Could Help Solve Opioid Epidemic.”) It is evident that the research that has been done shows the value of medical marijuana and much more research needs to be done. This is why it is eminent that, we as Americans, come together to truly get all of the benefits that this drug be legalized not only on a state level, but on a Federal level to help us all.
Currently, marijuana is classified as a Schedule 1 drug along with Ecstacy, Heroin, LSD, and others. Schedule 1 drugs are considered to have no medical value and are extremely illegal on a federal level. Senators like Cory Booker (D-NJ), Rand Paul (R-KY), and Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) introduced a “first ever bill in the U.S. Senate to legalize medical marijuana for medical use and the most comprehensive medical marijuana bill ever introduced in Congress” that has created immense interest. It is called the Compassionate Access, Research Expansion and Respect States (CARERS) Act, as stated in, (“Booker, Paul, and Gillibrand Announce Bipartisan New Medical Marijuana Bill to Allow Patients ‘including Veterans’ to Access Necessary Care Without Fear of Federal Prosecution.”) If this happens, marijuana will be classified as a Schedule 2 drug which will allow for medical research and will allow VA doctors and regular doctors to be able to at least discuss medical marijuana as an alternative. Currently, doctors are unable to even discuss Medical Marijuana with their patients and the patients, (Veterans) are terrified to discuss it because of the stigma and because of fear of prosecution for just discussing it.
If the CARERS Act is passed, as stated by, (“Booker, Paul, and Gillibrand Announce Bipartisan New Medical Marijuana Bill to Allow Patients ‘including veterans’ to Access Necessary Care Without Fear of Prosecution,”) it will “Recognize States’ Responsibility to Set Medical Marijuana Police and Eliminate Potential Federal Prosecution, Reschedule Marijuana from Schedule I to Schedule II, Recognizing ‘Accepted Medical Use, Allow states to Import Cannbidiol (CBD), Recognized Treatment for Epilepsy and Seizure Disorders, Provide Veterans Access, Permit Financial Services and Banking for Marijuana Dispensaries, and Expand Opportunities for Research,” especially research. According to the Institute of Medicine of the National academy of Sciences, they conducted a 2-year review of information and found irrefutable evidence that medical marijuana can treat nausea, pain and anxiety. Then the University of California found that medical marijuana can be used to treat certain types of pain syndromes “due to injury or diseases of the nervous system” and possibly painful muscle spasms from multiple sclerosis. Just think of what scientists could and will discover once laws are changed and research is allowed on a larger scale.
“Veterans see this victory as a major step forward in restoring our First amendment rights within the VA,” said TJ Thompson, a disabled Navy veteran, according to, (“In Historic Vote, Senate Appropriations Committee Approves Veterans Medical Marijuana Amendment.”) He was happy that at least a dialogue could be opened between VA doctor and patient because currently, veterans are unable to discuss it or even bring it up to their doctor. Thompson is a long time advocate for medical marijuana and he has been before Congress to speak on the value of medical marijuana. He also has been working very closely with the Senators that have been mentioned. Also working with the Senators are “Sandy Faiola, who is a medical marijuana patient and advocate; Kate Hintz and her daughter Morgan who advocate Cannabidiol (CBD) to treat Epilepsy and seizures; and Cory Barnette, Owner of District Growers, LLC.” These people have spoken to Congress regarding medical marijuana. These are everyday Americans who know the value of medical marijuana. They had tried the pharmaceutical company’s drugs and the side effects were too numerous and serious to continue to take those medicines. After doing research they found what works, with minimal to no side effects and costs so much cheaper than pharmaceutical drugs, Medical Marijuana.
“Proponents cite mounting evidence of marijuana’s therapeutic value; critics pint to public relations campaigns funded by wealthy marijuana entrepreneurs. The two sides are sharply divided over how to regulate the drug. But on this much everyone agrees: Our complicated relationship with marijuana has entered a new and confusing moment,” according to, (“Up in Smoke?”) Regardless on which side anyone is on, unfortunately it boils down to one thing, as always: unlawful behaviors, bribery and money. All attributes that are alive and healthy in Washington, D.C. While people are arguing about the pros and cons, millions of Americans and American veterans are enduring unfathomable pain. Pain that could be illuminated with medical marijuana. If Republicans and Democrats can come together and work together for one common good, why can’t we all? Americans are waiting with baited breath to await the outcome.