We often hear about veterans demanding the federal government allow them access to cannabis, but have you ever wondered who's leading these groups?
Nick Etten is one of the biggest advocates for marijuana access for veterans. Etten is a former Navy SEAL who conducted counternarcotics operations during the 1990's. After his service he received a masters degree in business from Northwestern University and began working in finance. During that time, he learned about the positives of marijuana and how it could benefit his fellow veterans.
Etten decided to leave his job last year and founded the Veterans Cannabis Project. The non-profit works to change the law to allow veterans access to cannabis.
One of the biggest problems with not allowing veterans access to marijuana is drug addiction. According to recent data, about 20 veterans commit suicide every day in the United States, which is about 22 percent higher than the national average. On top of that, they're about twice as likely to develop a drug addiction, which is partly due to veterans doctors prescribing dangerous opioids to help treat injuries sustained during combat.
Etten believes there would be about half as many suicides and drug overdoses by veterans if the federal government allowed them to use marijuana. And it's not just Etten who believes in the power of cannabis. 82 percent of the American Legion, the largest veterans organization in America, supports allowing former soldiers to access marijuana.
Perhaps if more people like Etten come out and speak out against Washington's backwards policies towards marijuana, we many finally convince Republicans to actually support cannabis on this issue at least.
(h/t Chicago Sun-Times)