veterans

U.S.: 11 Lawmakers Urge Congress To Include Medical Marijuana In Funding Bill

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U.S. Senator Steve Daines, U.S. Representative Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) and nine members of the U.S. Senate and U.S. House of Representatives on Tuesday urged Congressional leadership to include a provision in the final funding bill sent to the president that protects veterans’ ability to discuss the use of medical marijuana with VA physicians in states where it is legal.

Although the provision passed both chambers of Congress, it was removed in the conferenced appropriations for Military Construction, Veterans Affairs and Related Agencies.

The Fiscal Year 2017 Military Construction, Veterans Affairs, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act Conference Report failed to include Senators Daines and Jeff Merkley’s (D-OR) and Earl Blumenauer’s (D-OR) amendments that would allow for parity between VA and non-VA facilities in 26 states which have medical marijuana programs. The amendment does not change current laws preventing the possession or dispensing of marijuana on VA property, but simply allows veterans to discuss all options that are legally available in their state with their VA doctor.

U.S.: NCIA Calls On Congress To Restore Commonsense Marijuana Proposals To Bills

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Despite bipartisan, majority support in both the House and Senate, the GOP "leadership" has blocked a fix to the dangerous banking crisis, and also stripped a provision allowing V.A. doctors to discuss medical marijuana with patients.

Recent actions by Congressional leadership have derailed two commonsense, majority-favored marijuana policy reform proposals that had been expected to pass through the appropriations process. The National Cannabis Industry Association (NCIA) on Friday called on members of Congress to work to restore those provisions as the budget negotiation process continues.

"Bipartisan majorities in the House and the Senate have supported the commonsense, compassionate ideas that law-abiding cannabis businesses shouldn't be forced into dangerous all-cash operations, and that veterans who have put themselves in harm's way for our country should be able to learn about how medical marijuana could help them deal with the physical and psychological aftermath of their sacrifices," said NCIA executive director Aaron Smith.

U.S.: House Republicans Strip Veterans Of Equal Access To Marijuana In Dead Of Night

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"This isn't right for our veterans, or the American people."
~ Congressman Earl Blumenauer and Senator Jeff Merkley

On Wednesday, in the dead of night, as House Democrats held a sit-in for gun safety, House Republicans stripped language that would make it easier for qualified veterans to access state-legal medical marijuana from legislation to fund the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA).

With no transparency and little opportunity for Members to review, the House passed the legislation shortly after 3 a.m. local time Thursday. The Senate will vote on the legislation next.

Representative Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) and Senator Jeff Merkley (D-OR) released the following statement:

“Our language ensuring fair treatment for our veterans had broad, bipartisan support and passed both Chambers—it’s outrageous that it was removed. To add insult to injury, the legislation was released in the middle of the night, not even giving Members of the House an opportunity to review the language before voting on it. This isn’t right for our veterans, or the American people. We will keep fighting to make sure our wounded warriors have equal treatment and the ability to consult with their VA medical providers about medical marijuana as a treatment option.”

Arizona: VA Hospital Blocks Presentation On Cannabis, PTSD

Dr. Sue Sisley is upset that the Phoenix VA hospital blocked her presentation about marijuana and PTSD despite DEA approval.

By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

The Veterans Affairs hospital in Phoenix blocked a doctor from giving a lecture about marijuana's effect in veterans with post traumatic stress disorder, although her study is approved by the Drug Enforcement Administration.

Dr. Sue Sisley is conducting a study on PTSD and medical marijuana that is funded by a Colorado research grant. The Phoenix VA Medical Center denied Sisley the opportunity to give a presentation there, despite having her work approved by the DEA.

“The notion that the Phoenix VA hospital refuses to allow that information to be shared with their medical staff is really shameful,” Sisley told KTAR-FM.

Medical marijuana is legal in Arizona, but possession of pot is still a federal crime. Dr. Samuel Aguayo, associate chief of staff for research at the Phoenix hospital, said the VA center isn't allowed to promote or recruit veterans for marijuana research.

“VA medical staff are not authorized to make a decision on whether marijuana and marijuana research is appropriate for veterans,” he explained.

Sisley argued that the VA has a duty to support research that could uncover new treatment for veterans with PTSD.

“If they refuse to do that, I think that is negligent and it’s an abomination,” she said.

U.S.: Veterans Group Weed For Warriors Praises House Passage of VA Marijuana Measure

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Decorated disabled Iraq War veteran Brandon Wyatt on Thursday applauded Congress for passing a measure today that will help veterans in states where medical marijuana is legal get the medicine they need to fight their battle with post traumatic stress disorder and other ailments.

“This is a significant step forward in our cause,” said Wyatt, a lawyer and activist, who staged a groundbreaking free cannabis giveaway last month outside the Veterans Administration clinic in Washington, D.C., for patients suffering from PTSD. “We appreciate the support and efforts of all involved.

"Nevertheless, the job is not finished, because this legislation does not allow all veterans to be provided with the quality healthcare they need in order to be free of the fear of having to self-medicate," Wyatt said. "Easier access doesn’t equate to equal access.”

The amendment, sponsored by Rep. Earl Blumenauer, (D-Oregon), only applies to states where cannabis is legal; it doesn't allow for the distribution or use of cannabis at VA clinics or any federal facilities; and it doesn't allow for the VA to cover the costs.

U.S.: House Removes Restrictions Preventing Veterans Access To Medical Marijuana

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By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

The U.S. House of Representatives on Thursday passed an amendment to the FY 2017 Military Construction, Veterans Affairs and Related Agencies Appropriations bill led by Representative Earl Blumenauer of Oregon to make it easier for qualified veterans to access state-legal medical marijuana.

The amendment had bipartisan support and was co-sponsored by Representatives Joe Heck (R-NV), Sam Farr (D-CA), Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA), Tom Reed (R-NY), Dina Titus (D-NV), Barbara Lee (D-CA), Ruben Gallego (D-AZ), and Jared Polis (D-CO). It passed by 233-189.

“One of the greatest tragedies of our time is our failure to adequately deal with the needs of our veterans returning home with wounds both visible and unseen," Representative Blumenauer said. "Giving them access to medical marijuana as an alternative treatment option to deal with chronic pain, PTSD, and other conditions is critical at a time when our veterans are dying with a suicide rate 50 percent higher than civilians and opiate overdoses at nearly double the national average.

U.S.: Blumenauer To Offer Veterans Equal Access Amendment For Medical Marijuana

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Representative Earl Blumenauer of Oregon this week will offer an amendment to make it easier for qualified veterans to access medical marijuana, when the U.S. House of Representatives considers the FY 2017 Military Construction, Veterans Affairs and Related Agencies Appropriations bill.

Currently, the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) specifically prohibits its medical providers from completing forms brought by their patients seeking recommendations or opinions regarding a veteran’s participation in a state medical marijuana program. This forces veterans out of the VA system to seek a simple recommendation for treatment for eligible conditions as granted to them by state laws.

Rep. Blumenauer’s amendment ensures that no funds made available to the VA can be used to implement this prohibition, which would, in effect, strike it down.

“It’s wrong and unfair to force our veterans outside of the VA system to simply seek a recommendation on whether or not medical marijuana is a good treatment option," said Congressman Blumenauer. "And, our VA physicians should not be denied the ability to offer such a recommendation if they think it may meet the needs of their patient.”

Nevada: Information Session Set For Seniors and Veterans on Medical Marijuana

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The Grove’s Medical Director Dr. Sue Sisley, nationally recognized cannabis expert, discusses treating ailments & diseases with medical cannabis

Dr. Sue Sisley, renowned medical cannabis researcher and expert, will lead an information session on medical cannabis and its potential for treating a variety of ailments and diseases. This discussion will take place on Thursday, April 7, at the Pahrump Senior Center.

“Information will be presented to seniors and veterans who want to learn about the benefits of medical marijuana, especially if they have a condition that could make them eligible," Dr. Sue Sisley said. "We will also provide resources for obtaining your medical marijuana card.”

Dr. Sisley is the medical director for The Grove. She is also a member of the Nevada state medical marijuana commission (ILAC). Her 20-year work with veterans has been noted as groundbreaking. She is the SITE principal investigator for the only FDA-approved research using whole plant medical cannabis, which studies the risk and benefits of cannabis for combat veterans with treatment resistant post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

Karma Holistic Health Foundation will be on site to walk applicants through the process of getting a medical marijuana card. This session is free and open to the public.

WHEN: Thursday, April 7, 9 a.m. to 11 a.m.
WHERE: Pahrump Senior Center
1370 W Basin Ave.
Pahrump, Nevada 89060

Colorado: Military Veteran Gives Away Free Marijuana To Fellow Vets For PTSD

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By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

A Colorado Springs cannabis club headed by a military veteran is handing out free marijuana to other veterans, hoping to give them relief from issues like post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) for chronic pain they suffer after returning home from war zones.

The Veteran Farmers Alliance over the weekend gave away more than a half-pound of weed, along with cannabis edibles, worth about $1,400, to veterans at the Dab Lounge, reports RT.com. Founder Steve Defino said other groups should be doing the same thing, and that cannabis was essential for him to deal with his PTSD, which he has battled for more than a decade.

Defino said he was prepared to spend nearly 20 times the amount he spent on Saturday at a followup event planned for Veteran's Day in November, reports Andrew Blake at The Washington Times.

“I’ve seen other organizations operate, and I’m not very happy with the way they do it,” Defino said in an interview with KXRM. “They need to be donating more and doing more to show these guys that they actually care.”

“I’ve been able to actually go through my memories, recall my memories without getting upset anymore, and I’m starting to live my life again like a normal person,” Defino said.

U.S.: Veterans Increasingly Turning To Marijuana For PTSD Relief

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By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

More and more states and considering allowing military veterans and others with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) to use medical marijuana for relief. But many veterans aren't waiting for permission.

Military veterans are increasingly using medicinal cannabis, although it remains illegal in most states and is frowned upon by the Department of Veterans Affairs, reports the Associated Press.

Marijuana does a lot better managing anxiety, insomnia and nightmares than the harsh pharmaceuticals approved by the federal government and handed out by the VA, according to many former members of the military. Prescription drugs such as Zoloft and Klonopin are often ineffective and make them feel like zombies, many veterans said.

"I went from being an anxious mess to numbing myself with the pills they were giving me," said 39-year-old former Marine Mike Whiter of Philadelphia, where marijuana is still illegal. "Cannabis helped me get out of the hole I was in. I started to talk to people and get over my social anxiety."

After Andy Zorn got home from serving with the Army in Iraq, he suffered from PTSD and self-medicated with cannabis. The VA diagnosed him with "marijuana dependence" as well as depression and bipolar disorder, according to his mother, Sally Schindel of Prescott, Arizona.

Study: Medical Marijuana Compares Favorably To Conventional PTSD Treatments

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Medical marijuana compares favorably with conventional treatments for post-traumatic stress disorder, according to Care By Design, a California-based medical marijuana company which recently completed a survey of 300 patients with PTSD. The survey asked what medications (including cannabis) patients had used for PTSD-related symptoms, and then asked patients to assess each medication in terms of its impact on the hallmark symptoms of PTSD, including anger and irritability, anxiety, depression, pain, and sleep disorders.

Among the key findings of the study, according to Care By Design:

• Survey respondents reported taking numerous medications for PTSD. In order of prevalence: Anti-depressants, anti-anxiety medication, cannabis, sleeping medication, mood stabilizers, narcotic pain medication, non-narcotic pain medication, anti-psychotics, beta-blockers, tranquilizers, and anti-convulsants.
• Half of respondents had taken at least 5 medications for PTSD, and 7.5 percent had taken as many as 11.
• Survey respondents reported that cannabis was the most likely to improve PTSD symptoms—albeit to an unknown degree—and the least likely to make symptoms worse.

California: Marine Pushes To Be First Active Duty Medical Marijuana Patient

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By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

U.S. Marine Sgt. Sean Major is pushing hard to become the first active duty service member allowed to use medical marijuana.

Major, 25, has had a physician's recommendation for medicinal cannabis use since last October, reports Robert Burns at Fox 5 San Diego. He currently is prescribed more than 20 different pharmaceutical pills.

The wounded warrior suffered four traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) during his seven years of military service.

"I sustained my first traumatic brain injury in 2010 on the Pacific Rim," he said. "I've had one coming back from my deployment."

Major said using cannabis medicinally would help with his sleeping, and alleviate anxiety from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

"If I was missing an arm or a leg, you could see that I was injured, but with traumatic brain injury it's almost like your computer is damaged," Major said.

The Marine sergeant said he started researching cannabis after seeing its effect on his father, also a veteran. But he said supports only medical use, not recreational, but military personnel.

"You don't need guys high running around defending this beautiful country; I get that," he said.

Major said he has drafted a non-profit business plan to help other veterans with similar symptoms to be more self-sufficient.

Photo of Sgt. Sean Major: RobertBurnsTV/Twitter

U.S.: Members of Congress Tell VA To Allow Veterans Medical Marijuana

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By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

A broad group of legislators from both parties on Wednesday sent a letter to the Veterans’ Administration (VA) demanding a change in policy to allow veterans to access medical marijuana. Currently, veterans are prevented from having full conversations about medical marijuana with VA doctors, and the same VA physicians are prohibited from recommending medical marijuana, even in states where medical marijuana is legal.

“Vets have served their country, and the least we can do is give them the care they require,” said Michael Collins, deputy director of National Affairs at the Drug Policy Alliance (DPA). “It is shameful that the VA prevents veterans from accessing a treatment for pain relief and PTSD.”

“Current VA policy is doing a disservice to veterans by preventing their doctors from exploring all possible treatment options," said Robert Capecchi, director of federal policies for the Marijuana Policy Project (MPP). "We trust VA physicians to prescribe painkillers and other prescription drugs that are far more addictive and infinitely more lethal. Why can’t we trust them to recommend medical marijuana to the patients who they believe could benefit from it?

U.S.: Dropleaf and Julian Marley's JUJU Royal Will Contribute 1% Of Annual Sales To Charity

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Dropleaf, the brand management firm that has obtained the exclusive rights to the Julian Marley JUJU Royal brand, has announced it will begin making charitable contributions to the Weed for Warriors Project on an annual basis beginning in 2016.

Dropleaf said it will donate 1 percent of annual sales to a limited number of select charities and the Weed for Warriors Project is the first charity chosen to be a recipient. The charitable donation program will be based on Dropleaf’s annual sales made in 2016, according to Jeffrey Britz of Dropleaf. Other charities will be selected in 2016, he added.

The Weed for Warriors Project benefits military veterans who suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD.) The Project seeks to raise public awareness about the need for the U.S. Veterans Affairs Administration (VA) to change its policies regarding the use of medical cannabis to treat PTSD symptoms. The VA’s current policy is to treat PTSD with prescription psychiatric drugs that are addictive and have debilitating side effects. More information about the Weed for Warriors Project is available at their website, http://wfwproject.org.

Texas: Veterans Gather At State Capitol To Launch 'Operation Trapped' Supporting Medical Marijuana

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At Veterans Day event, Air Force, Army, and Navy veterans urge state officials to pass legislation allowing access to medical marijuana — a safer alternative to many prescription drugs — for PTSD, TBI, and other service-related conditions

Texas veterans and their supporters on Wednesday -- Veterans Day -- gathered in front of the Vietnam Veterans Monument at the Texas State Capitol to announce the launch of a campaign advocating for comprehensive medical marijuana legislation.

Operation Trapped, backed by Texans for Responsible Marijuana Policy, is a veteran-based campaign to build support for legislation allowing access to medical marijuana — a safer alternative to prescription drugs — for treatment of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), traumatic brain injury (TBI), chronic pain, and other service-related conditions.

“Veterans have sacrificed greatly to serve and protect our nation,” said David Bass of Killeen, a U.S. Army veteran who served in Operation Desert Storm and Operation Iraqi Freedom II. “It’s time to serve and protect the many soldiers who have returned home with debilitating conditions that would benefit greatly from medical marijuana. The goal of this campaign is to give those veterans a voice and get Texas legislators to listen.”

At the event, the campaign displayed several empty prescription pill bottles it has collected from supportive Texas veterans to represent those who are suffering from serious medical conditions that could be relieved by medical marijuana.

D.C.: Veterans To Rally At The White House Wednesday For Medical Marijuana

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This Veteran’s Day, Wednesday, Nov. 11, veterans and activists will gather to walk from the Veteran’s Affairs Headquarters down Pennsylvania Avenue to the gates of the White House where they will be disposing of thousands empty prescription pill bottles collected from their brothers and sisters across the country in memory of those whose sacrifices did not end on the battlefield.

With the current veteran suicide rate at 22 per day, it is time for the VA to recognize alternate forms of war trauma treatment for our veterans.

"Join us tomorrow at the White House gates to witness firsthand the cause that veterans, their families, and advocate associations alike are fighting for," said event organizer, world-renowned cannabis expert and veterans' rights activist Garyn Angel.

Angel will lead thousands of United States veterans and several national veterans’ organizations during the march.

Where: The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW

When: Veterans Day, Wednesday, November 11
Walk to begin at 12 pm (noon)

California: 4.20 Mile Veterans March To De-Stigmatize Marijuana Set For Saturday, Oct. 17

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The 420 Games -- a series of competitive athletic events founded to de-stigmatize cannabis and the people who use it -- will bring its first Veterans March to Santa Monica on Saturday, October 17. The march starts at 8 am.

Registration is free and includes cannabis sampling (for those over 21 with medical recommendation), Lagunitas beer sampling (for those over 21), and an official 420 Games t-shirt with a $20 donation.

The 420 Games features marathons, golf tournaments, mountain bike races, and stand-up paddle board events, among other formats, with multiple events planned for California, Colorado, Washington and Oregon. Recently, the city of San Francisco hosted their second 420 Games in Golden Gate Park with over 500 participants competing in a 4.20 fun run, followed by a recovery beer garden hosted by Lagunitas Brewing Company, and a special concert from reggae superstar Pato Banton.

"The 420 Games were created to emphasize that highly functional people, including professional athletes, use cannabis and are hardly the lazy stoner as the world has portrayed," said event founder Jim McAlpine, who is also the founder of SnowBomb, producer of ski/snowboard lifestyle events. “Fostering a new positive mindset about those who use cannabis is going to be absolutely critical for the legalization of marijuana,” McAlpine said.

Some highlights of the event include:

• For those with doctor’s recommendations, brands such as Kiva Confections, Pure Cure, VapeXhale and many others will be offering medical cannabis samplings.

U.S.: Veterans To Gather For Cannabis PTSD Treatment Awareness

Weed4WarriorsProject[Weed4WarriorsProject.org]

The 2nd Annual Cannaball Run for Vets, supporting cannabis PTSD treatment, will begin on Oct. 17 in L.A.

By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Did you know that 20 percent of America’s suicides are committed by Veterans? Did you know that more than 300,000 veterans are suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder?

Did you know veterans are typically prescribed a cocktail of six or more psychoactive medications to treat PTSD? Did you know that controlled, supervised use of cannabis has been proven 300 percent more effective at treating PTSD than the medications that are currently being prescribed?

More and more of our nation’s Veterans are opting for one simple plant that is safer and – most importantly – more effective than prescription drugs. Cannabis has become the new answer, and hopefully with your help, the new normal.

For this reason, world-renowned cannabis expert Garyn Angel and his company MagicalButter, alongside the Weed For Warriors Project, are presenting this year’s Cannaball Run for Vets. The 2nd Annual Cannaball Run for Vets for cannabis PTSD treatment, a cross-country education and awareness campaign, will begin on October 17 in Los Angeles, and stop at seven major cities as it heads towards the nation's capital, Washington, D.C., for the culminating Veteran's Day event on November 11.

U.S.: Senate Spending Package Includes Major Marijuana Law Reforms

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By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

A new package of spending bills from the Senate, intended to keep the federal government operational for the next year, includes several positive changes in marijuana law.

The bills were filed on Tuesday by Sen. Thad Cochran (R-Mississippi), chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee, and they've just been uploaded to Congress's website, reports Marijuana.com.

The new spending package put forth by the top Senate appropriator "includes, well, everything us marijuana law reformers could have reasonably hoped for this year," said Tom Angell, chairman of Marijuana Majority.

“We won bipartisan votes on all of these issues this year on either the House floor, in the Senate Appropriations Committee or both, so this is a rare case of Congressional leadership actually listening to their members — and to the American people," Angell said.

"Just a few short years ago, politicians used to jump all over each other to be seen as the ‘toughest’ on drugs," Angell said. "But now that polls consistently show that a growing majority of Americans support legalization, more elected officials are beginning to realize that scaling back failed prohibition policies is not only the right thing to do, but that it’s politically smart."

If enacted, the bills would:

Maryland: Dr. Sue Sisley Lectures At Walter Reed National Hospital On PTSD, Cannabis

SueSisley[MattYork-AP]

Dr. Sue Sisley on Tuesday will lead a clinical lecture on post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and cannabis as part of the 5th Annual Pain Care Skills Training at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland.

Research has indicated that cannabis has tremendous therapeutic potential to treat PTSD and pain-related symptoms of many medical conditions. The Pain Care Skills Training is a four-day event that includes hands-on trainings, lectures and roundtable discussions on best-practice models of treatment, and evolving solutions to meet the needs of pain care within the military, hosted by the National Capital Region Pain Initiative.

"The military has historically been a leader in adopting new medical practices far ahead of the larger medical community," said Dr. Sisley. "It's an honor to be able to help educate these highly dedicated medical professionals about medical cannabis and PTSD."

Earlier this year, the Senate Appropriations Committee passed the Veterans Equal Access Amendment by a margin of 18-12, which would allow Veterans Administration (VA) doctors to recommend medical cannabis if they are in a state that has a medical cannabis program. Under current policy, veterans who receive treatment from a physician outside of the VA are able to access medical cannabis if they live in state with a medical cannabis program.

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