Kaine Introduces Bill To Allow Veterans To Access Medical Marijuana Through The VA

VIRGINIA: U.S. Senator Tim Kaine, a member of the Senate Armed Service Committee, joined Senator Brian Schatz to introduce legislation to allow doctors at the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to discuss and potentially recommend medical marijuana to veterans in states that have established medical marijuana programs. The bill will create a temporary, five-year safe harbor protection for veterans who use medical marijuana and their doctors and direct the VA to research the effects of medical marijuana on veterans in pain as well as the relationship between medical marijuana programs and a potential reduction in opioid abuse among veterans.

“Right now, in the 33 states where it is legal, doctors may recommend medical marijuana to help eligible patients. Our bill ensures that doctors who work for the Department of Veterans Affairs can discuss and potentially recommend medical marijuana to their patients that are veterans in accordance with state law. To do otherwise amounts to unfairly punishing the men and women who served in our military. The bill would also take an important step in further exploring whether medical marijuana can be a viable tool to help veterans in pain and reduce opioid abuse,” Kaine said.

The Veterans Medical Marijuana Safe Harbor Act is supported by the American Academy of Pain Medicine, American Pain Society, Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America, Veterans Cannabis Coalition, Veterans Medical Cannabis Association, NORML, National Cannabis Industry Association (NCIA), Americans for Safe Association, Marijuana Policy Project, Drug Policy Alliance, and Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies.

“Our members have spoken loud and clear on this issue,” said Tom Porter, Legislative Director for Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America.  “Eighty-three percent of respondents to our recently-released member survey approved of cannabis use for medicinal purposes. With such overwhelming support, we need to be removing barriers to care for veterans, not maintaining them. IAVA applauds Sen. Schatz for introducing the Veterans Medical Marijuana Safe Harbor Act to do just that.”

“When nearly one in four veterans report that they are consuming cannabis for therapeutic purposes, The Veterans Medical Marijuana Safe Harbor Act would provide crucial medical and civil protections for the men and women who put their lives on the line to serve this country. It is unconscionable that these brave individuals who stepped up to protect our nation’s freedoms would be treated as criminals when they return home simply for treating their medical ailments with a safe and effective option under state law,” said Justin Strekal, Political Director for NORML. “We applaud and appreciate the leadership by Senator Schatz in putting forward this legislation.”

Cannabis Industry Ambassador-At-Large: Twenty22Many Art Auction

Twenty22Many is a Washington-based Veterans group, born out of the old Medical Marijuana Collective model that preceded recreational cannabis in Washington State.

The mission of the Twenty22Many is “By All Means Necessary – End Veteran Suicide.” Founder Patrick Saint, and other volunteer veterans are committed to raising awareness about the extremely high suicide rates among our military veterans — it is reported that 22 daily suicides occur daily in America.

Patrick and his group of Veteran volunteers turned to Washington State’s newly licensed recreational cannabis community for help. Together, they created the Twenty22Many Veteran Support Depot Program to offer vets a safe haven and access to resources.

If a veteran walks through the door of a participating retailer in need of anything, they will be given a flyer with valuable contact information on it.  Once contacted, Twenty22Many will promptly dispatch a veteran volunteer and resources to that veteran in need.  Twenty22Many Veteran Support Depot Program essentially converts participating I-502 stores into little Veteran hubs all over the state.

I grew up in a military family. Both my father and a sister served in the armed forces, and so I was especially excited to join Twenty22Many at their annual fundraiser as a guest of the founder.  The auction was held at Heylo Cannabis Extractions in Sodo Seattle.

These works are like DMT meet LSD

These works are like DMT meet LSD

The evening started off with an art auction. The featured artist was Adream, whose work is so detailed and inspiring. These works were both colorful and spiritual in some mystical way — like DMT meet LSD.

I also attended a glass blowing event earlier, hosted by Weekend Unlimited, Jerome Baker Designs and Leafly. Jason Harris of JBD Glass graciously donated a wonderful JBD bong to Patrick and Twenty22Many for auction at the evening event.

 

Jason Harris of JBD Glass so graciously donated a wonderful JBD bong to Patrick and the Twenty22Many.

Jason Harris of JBD Glass so graciously donated a wonderful JBD bong to Patrick and the Twenty22Many.

I was given the extreme honor to present Patrick with a Challenge Coin. In the military, challenge coins are often offered to visiting dignitaries or guest of a unit or platoon.  This particular coin was given to me by Four-Star General “Skip” Dreps, a well-known Veterans advocate who works with the Disabled Veterans of the Pacific Northwest. General Dreps is a good friend of Jake The Professor who always jumps at the chance to help his fellow brothers in arms.

Thank you to Heylo Canbabis Extractions, the Space Shuttle, and Twenty22Many for helping us understand the needs of the veterans community and offering us an opportunity help.

Patrick Saint and Twenty22Many need our support to carry out this very important mission. I invite you to work with us to reduce suicide rates within the Veterans community.  Please reach out to Twenty22Many in Olympia to participate in this life saving program.