As the Trump administration continues to prohibit doctors from prescribing medical marijuana to former soldiers, many veterans are now ramping up their advocacy for cannabis.
Last Thursday, a group of veterans held a press conference in Washington D.C. to try to convince the government to allow VA hospitals and doctors to prescribe medical marijuana to former soldiers suffering from health conditions related to combat experiences. Under federal law, not only are VA doctors not allowed to prescribe cannabis to veterans, they're not even allowed to discuss the drug. The veterans at the press conference discussed how marijuana has helped them cope with life after combat, and they also exposed the horrors of prescription drugs that soldiers are given instead.
One of the soldiers at the press conference was Joshua James Frey, a two-time Purple Heart recipient who served in the Marines. Frey was injured multiple times during tours in Iraq, and has undergone 22 operations for these wounds. Not only has medical marijuana helped him cope with his injuries, but it's helped his mental help since returning as well.
“Medical marijuana saved me,” Frey said. “I feel like I did before the war (in Iraq) mentally and … know this could help not just the veterans struggling, but it could help anyone struggling with addiction and PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder). It’s time we all stand as one voice and truly move forward with real hard-lined research and move forward with real compassionate care.”
He also did not have very kind words for the Department of Veterans' Affairs.
"You are doing something bad," he said. “We need to stop the madness. We need to get this stuff on the books...It could help a lot of vets.”
Also appearing at the press conference was a mother of a former soldier who committed suicide after returning from war. Janos “Johnny” Lutz returned from the Middle East with severe PTSD and brain injury, and was prescribed painkillers by his doctors. This only worsened his symptoms. His mother said, "I think my son would be here today," if medical marijuana were available to veterans.
Republicans love to talk about how much they love veterans. Let's see if they'll do something to help them.
(h/t Washington Post)