First Ever Veterans-Focused Medical Bill Introduced In Senate

DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA: Senators Bill Nelson (D-FL) and Brian Schatz (D-HI) on Wednesday introduced legislation, The Veterans Medical Marijuana Safe Harbor Act, to expand and facilitate medical cannabis access to military veterans suffering from chronic pain, PTSD, and other serious medical conditions.

Under existing regulations, VA doctors are not permitted to fill out the mandatory paperwork necessary to recommend cannabis therapy in those 31 states that regulate it. Passage of The Veterans Medical Marijuana Safe Harbor Act ends this discrimination against veterans and prevents sanctions against VA doctors who wish to recommend medical cannabis treatment to their patients. The Act also encourages the Veterans Administration to promulgate medical cannabis research, and appropriates funding for scientific studies.

A recent American Legion poll found that nearly one in four veterans use marijuana to alleviate a medical condition. A 2017 review of over 10,000 studies by the National Academy of Sciences concluded, “There is conclusive or substantial evidence that cannabis and cannabinoids are effective for the treatment for chronic pain in adults.”

Similar legislation, The Veterans Equal Access Act (HR 1820) is pending in the House. You can contact your federal lawmakers in support of both of these bills using the NORML Action Alert.


more information, contact Justin Strekal, NORML Political Director, at (202) 483-5500

The American Veteran In California’s Cannabis Industry

“California Business & Professions Code §16102.  

Every soldier, sailor or marine of the United States who has received an honorable discharge or a release from active duty under honorable conditions from such service may hawk, peddle and vend any goods, wares or merchandise owned by him, except spirituous, malt, vinous or other intoxicating liquor, without payment of any license, tax or fee whatsoever, whether municipal, county or State, and the board of supervisors shall issue to such soldier, sailor or marine, without cost, a license therefor.
(Amended by Stats. 1941, Ch. 646.) “   By Joshua D. Jenkins 

Veterans in California are afforded equity treatment and this law describes how that equity is to be given. This statute has been on the books in some form since 1901, with the last amendment in 1941.

Loyal Penguin, Inc. initially found this legislation while seeking to better understand how to advance the American Veteran in the California Cannabis Industry. The initial understanding of this law is that a Veteran-owned entity that is a sales, not service, related business is not charged the fees and permits typically associated with a business startup, unless the Veteran-owned entity is in dealing with alcohol-related wares.

 

Screenshot 2018-08-21 12.49.39It is unfortunate that this equity has not been afforded as promised by law. Requests for further information from the Bureau of Cannabis Control have fallen to the deaf ears of the attorneys who fail to respond to multiple requests from multiple Veteran-owned businesses.

Why would such a barrier to entry be continued by the BCC? Do they truly believe that Veterans do not have what it takes to participate in this new industry? Or do they fail to understand basic economics, given that the revenue generated in the form of taxes will more than make up for the offset fees that Veterans are exempted from? Do they not understand the value that the Veteran Community could add to the industry?

The Veteran Community is the key to fully bringing the Cannabis Industry to the legal forefront. But why? Why is it that this community will drive Cannabis legalization to be a new-normal in modern-day America? It is not one thing specifically, but a myriad of much needed skillsets missing in today’s Cannabis space.

Veterans are individuals that are widely misunderstood , often viewed as a person trying to find his or her way back into society-at-large. Training and environmental conditions during service have altered typical mannerisms, leading many “civilians” to misidentify feelings of contempt, anger, or withdrawal. This leads to many situations where the communities, or individuals within the “Veteran” community and the “civilian” community, clash. The stereotype is of the angry, violent, and dangerous individual who is trying to stand for what they believe in; which to the untrained eye appears to be aggressive.

Civilians, as stereotyped by many veterans, are looked at as weak and undisciplined. This further empowers the Veteran to not conform to society; because weakness is frowned upon in the military. How then, do we merge these communities? We accept each other where we are at, and both communities work towards reintegration.

So, what benefit does reintegration afford? What gains can we expect to see as a society through affording Veterans a chance to truly be adopted by society? That can be described in one word: Innovation.

In the 1950s and 1960s the economic landscape was transformed through the reintegration of Veterans into their communities. Businesses worked together to create the well-recognized Golden Age of America and put teams of brave Americans on the moon. That innovation was led by businesses that were led and operated by the Veterans of World War-II and the Korean War. The disciplined mission-centric nature of these business leaders allowed for the economic advancement of our society, the likes of which we have not seen in fifty-years. Reintegrating Veterans in our workforce and creating opportunities for Veterans to succeed will create the same transformative effect on our country.

This is where the Cannabis Industry is posed to benefit from these men and women. The unique background and perspective of Veterans gives them the ability to bring the Cannabis community to a higher, more efficient and effective level and lends insight on government processes. Leaders like Jack Herer demonstrated how the Veteran community can properly use their knowledge of government systems and a service-oriented mindset to advance the freedoms associated with Cannabis. Today’s Veterans, many of whom are looking for meaningful employment where their contributions and their background are valued, are able to take this purpose as their next mission.

Veterans approach business situations as they would during times of conflict: with a “why can’t we” rather than “why we can’t” attitude. This mindset is why we, as a country, have the best military in the world and it is an attitude that is needed by every successful business. This drive and determination will assist in paving the way to the national legalization of Cannabis and is yet another reason why the Veteran community will benefit the Cannabis movement.

The inclusion of Veterans starts, however, by recognizing the reasons why equity is given to Veterans. While many civilians spent their 20s and 30s building professional networks, Veterans spent these years serving our country, many times overseas; Now, upon returning home and attempting to reintegrate, they are three to twenty years behind their civilian peers, as a result of their national service. The transition would be greatly improved by giving them the chance to come to the table in an industry associated with a high cost barrier-to-entry. This is exactly why this law exists: so Veterans are afforded opportunities to both catch up and rapidly begin utilizing their acquired skills that were gained during their service to all of us.

If you want to get involved begin by contacting Loyal Penguin, Inc. at Info@Loyalpenguin.com or the Bureau of Cannabis Control at Freda.Lin@dca.ca.gov and inquire as to why Veterans are not being afforded the equity that is already provided by law.

Veterans Push For A Federal Study Of Hemp In Hopes Of Stemming Opioid Prescriptions At VA Facilities

DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA: A group of United States Armed Forces Veterans descended on the U.S. House of Representatives in Washington, D.C. Tuesday, April 17 to meet with members of the Cannabis Caucus and the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee. Their request is an urgent call for change in medical treatment options for Veterans: stop the dependency on opioids and compel the Veterans’ Affairs Administration to study CBD derived from industrial hemp as a legal alternative to opioids, the go-to drug in masking a variety of medical conditions.

Steve Danyluk, who spearheaded the legislative meeting with Veterans, is retired from the Marine Corps Reserves. His last position was working wounded issues at Walter Reed and Bethesda. That is where he became very troubled by what he saw.

“I witnessed what I believe is a policy of overmedicating wounded service men and women with opiates and other toxic medications, which led me to establish Warfighter Hemp,” said Steve Danyluk, LtCol, USMCR (RET.) and founder Warfighter Hemp. “CBD derived from Industrial Hemp provides much of the relief that these Veterans seek, at a fraction of the cost, without the psychoactive side effects, making it an ideal alternative to the various psychotropic and toxic medications in the VA’s dispensary. We welcomed the opportunity to share our CBD stories with legislators.”

Danyluk, along with three Veterans from Minnesota and Virginia, met with Congressman Jared Polis (D) Colorado, Congressman Earl Blumenauer (D) Oregon, and representatives from the offices of combat Veteran Congressman Moulton (D) Massachuetts, Congressman Don Young (R) Alaska, and Congressman Tim Walz (D) Minnesota. The group met individually with Congressman Brian Mast (R) Florida, himself a combat Veteran, along with an aide for Congressman Scott Peters (D) Ohio.

The group requested legislators sign a letter to Acting Secretary Robert Wilke, Department of Veterans Affairs, asking him to green light a study into CBD derived from Industrial Hemp.

 

 

Survey: More Than One In Five Military Vets Uses Cannabis Medicinally

INDIANA:  More than one in five military veterans engage in the use of cannabis for therapeutic purposes, according to nationwide survey data conducted on behalf of The American Legion. The Legion is the largest veterans’ advocacy organization in the United States.

Twenty-two percent of respondents said they “use cannabis to treat a mental or physical condition.” Thirty-nine percent affirmed they “know a veteran” who is using it medicinally. Eighty-three percent of respondents said they support legalizing medical cannabis federally.

Previously published survey data reports that military veterans consume medical cannabis at rates greater than those of the general population, often using it as an alternative to conventional medications in the treatment of pain and post-traumatic stress.

In late October, Democrat members of the US House Committee on Veteran’s Affairs authored a letter to VA Secretary David Shulkin demanding that the agency facilitate protocols to assess the efficacy of medical cannabis in veterans.

In September, representatives from The American Legion addressed a separate letter to VA Secretary Shulkin encouraging the federal agency to assist in an ongoing FDA-approved clinical trial assessing the safety and efficacy of various strains of cannabis in veterans with PTSD. To date, the VA has refused to assist in patient recruitment for the trial. The VA has yet to publicly respond to either letter.


For more information, contact Justin Strekal, NORML Political Director, at (202) 483-5500.

Lawmakers Demand The VA Study Medical Marijuana

DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA:  Members of the US House Committee on Veteran’s Affairs are demanding that the Department of Veterans Affairs facilitate protocols to assess the efficacy of medical cannabis in veterans suffering from chronic pain conditions and post-traumatic stress.

Minnesota Democrat Tim Walz, along with nine other Democrat members of the Committee, authored an October 26, 2017 letter to VA Secretary David Shulkin stating: “[The] VA is uniquely situated to pursue research on the impact of medical marijuana on veterans suffering from chronic pain and PTSD given its access to world class researchers, the population it serves, and its history of overseeing and producing research resulting in cutting-edge medical treatments. … VA’s pursuit of research into the impact of medical marijuana on the treatment of veterans diagnosed with PTSD who are also experiencing chronic pain is integral to the advancement of health care for veterans and the nation. We ask VA to respond … with a commitment to the development of VHA-led research into this issue.”

In September, representatives from The American Legion addressed a separate letter to VA Secretary Shulkin encouraging the federal agency to assist in an ongoing, FDA-approved clinical trial assessing the safety and efficacy of various strains of cannabis in veterans with PTSD. To date, the VA has refused to assist in patient recruitment for the trial. The VA has yet to publicly respond to the Legion’s letter.

Survey data finds that military veterans frequently consume cannabis therapeutically, often using it as an alternative to conventional medications in the treatment of pain and post-traumatic stress.


For more information, contact Justin Strekal, NORML Political Director, at (202) 483-5500.

Nonprofit Gives Free Marijuana To Oregon Veterans

OREGON: National nonprofit organization ‘Grow for Vets’ is raising money and support for veterans suffering from PTSD and other medical conditions, as well as handing out free marijuana.

The organization hosted a free cannabis giveaway and rally at Refuge PDX in Portland on Saturday. Both Veterans and non-veterans received gift bags containing information about Grow for Vets and free pot-related products.

The rally aimed to raise veterans’ awareness about alternative treatment options, and to highlight the frequency of prescription drug abuse and suicide.

Grow for Vets held their first Oregon cannabis giveaway in Albany on July 1st, when marijuana legalization officially took effect. Hundreds of Veterans and supporters attended and received gift bags worth more than $300 each.

Was Big Pharma Behind Colorado’s Rejection Of Medical Marijuana For PTSD?

COLORADO:  Washington’s voters legalized recreational marijuana the same day that Colorado’s did, but so far that state has been far behind Colorado in creating the infrastructure for the new industry.

Far behind in most ways, that is: Last week the Colorado Board of Health again rejected adding Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder to the list of conditions for which medical marijuana can be prescribed, but Washington will be approving PTSD on July 24.

In making its decision, the Colorado board cited a lack of sufficient scientific evidence proving the plant’s effective treatment of PTSD — but Sue Sisley begs to differ. She’s the Arizona physician who’s been researching the effect of marijuana on veterans suffering from PTSD, and had been awarded a $2 million grant from Colorado for a study that’s gained the approval of the FDA — but that study continues to be on hold, since the fed-approved facility has not been able to produce the requested strains of cannabis.

Enough With This Silly War On Marijuana

DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA:  Before he tried marijuana, he thought of trying suicide.

Heavy drinking hadn’t helped. Nor had various pills prescribed by Veterans Affairs doctors. He was still angry, still depressed, still could not sleep.

But he found that marijuana helped. It took the anger and depression away. It took the sleeplessness away. Most of all, it took the 11-year-old boy away.

Pfc. Jared Hunter never knew the boy’s name. He was just some Iraqi kid who liked to hang around the Army base outside Baghdad. “He didn’t really speak English or nothing. He would just kind of follow us around and would point things out or tell us if there was somebody there who shouldn’t have been.”

Alaska Trim 4 Vets Seeks To Help Veterans Access Medical Marijuana

ALASKA:  Medical marijuana can help military veterans in many ways. A lot of veterans suffer aches and pains related to their service, and they deserve to use medical marijuana if they want to. Medical marijuana can also help with PTSD, which is something that many veterans deal with on a daily basis. It’s often hard for some veterans to acquire medical marijuana, especially in Alaska where a lot of veterans live in rural areas.

Alaska Trim 4 Vets started to help address that issue. Below is their mission statement, and I encourage all readers to check them out, and make a donation if you are able:

OUR MISSION: The mission of alaskatrim4vets is to help reduce the staggering number of Veterans who die each day from suicide and prescription drug overdose. We provide Veterans with the knowledge and resources necessary for veterans to grow and or obtain medical marijuana for treatment of their medical conditions.

 

North Carolina Legislator Introduces Bill To Legalize Medical Marijuana

NORTH CAROLINA: A local lawmaker filed a bill to allow the use of medical marijuana.

Rep. Kelly Alexander (D-Mecklenburg) is behind the legislation.

“Cannabis is a substance that does have medical applications that are provable,” Alexander said.

Alexander said hearing about people who struggle with chronic pain, specifically veterans, is a big reason for his push.
 
He also said the state could make big money — anywhere from $100 to $200 million in tax revenue.

“Salary increases for teachers,” Alexander said. “You’re talking about salary increases for state employees. There’s a whole litany of things that we have been discussing.”