I'm a veteran and while I've heard a lot of great stories of fellow vets finding relief with medical cannabis, I'm not sure how to go about accessing it myself. What resources are out there to help me?
— Veteran In Need
While the country symbolically honored our vets yesterday on Memorial Day, there is a lot of confusion out there regarding how veterans can receive support in a more concrete manner, especially when it comes to a complex issue like medical marijuana access. Unfortunately, you are not alone in your inquiry — many veterans seek to access medical cannabis but have no idea where to start. Thankfully, there are a number of organizations out there that can assist you. And, as you'll see, these are all organizations were started and run by veterans like yourself. Let's check out some of them in hopes of providing you (and others like you) with a path towards the healing powers of cannabis.
In their own words: "The mission of Grow for Vets USA is to help save the more than 50 veterans who die each day from suicide and prescription drug overdose. Grow for Vets provides veteran heroes with safe alternatives to deadly prescription drugs. We connect veterans with the knowledge and resources necessary to obtain or grow their own cannabis for the treatment of their medical conditions."
Grow For Vets has a variety of active campaigns going on that you can help be a part of and promote. Operation Save a Million Vets helps raise money for Operation Air Drop, an upcoming campaign that hopes to supply free 100% organic Hemp Seed Oil to all vets. They also educate folks on veteran-related PTSD and veteran suicide.
In their own words: "We are an advocacy group of Veterans for Veterans who use medical cannabis. We provide education, safe access, information on VA resources and benefits, and an opportunity for veterans to work with other veterans within the cannabis industry. The VCG also helps strengthen relationships between veteran communities and their local cannabis businesses and governments."
This well organized group has a ton of resources for veterans, including links to jobs that hire vets! You can also join their monthly conference call where they share important information and updates related to veterans and cannabis. There is also information on how to go about advocating for yourself in your own home state.
In their own words: "The Veterans Cannabis Project (VCP) is dedicated to helping military veterans improve their quality of life through access to cannabis for medical purposes. VCP Founder and Executive Director Nick Etten is a former Navy SEAL and graduate of the US Naval Academy with a strong track record in building strong organizations as both an investment professional and senior corporate executive."
This new organization has already hit the ground running with their advocacy and support services for veterans seeking cannabis treatment. Keep an eye out for two upcoming programs from VCP: Veterans Heal, an education and awareness campaign that looks to remove the stigma of using cannabis while providing scientific-based information. And Veterans Cultivate, a job-focused program that helps veterans transition into careers in the cannabis industry.
In their own words: "Weed for Warriors was started in the San Francisco Bay Area by an OEF United States Marine Corps Veteran who found relief from his service connected disabilities through medical marijuana and the fellowship of other like minded Veterans within the cannabis community."
Founded in 2014, this non-profit organization stands firmly committed to doing what they can to ensure that every veteran has the freedom to choose cannabis as a treatment option. They are also pushing for federal access and legality. And last week, the organization shared with MERRY JANE a variety of cannabis products that veterans recommend for other veterans.
Weed for Warriors has 18 chapters in various states, which are located mostly in the east and west of the country. In addition to joining or starting a chapter near you, you can sign up to volunteer or to find out more information, as well as donate to their cause.
While not focused on cannabis in particular, the Women's Veteran Collective is an organization dedicated to women veterans and all their needs, including cannabis treatment. All four co-founders have a range of experience with cannabis treatment, from using the plant themselves to successfully pushing for change at the state level.
Keep in mind, readers, that this is just the tip of the iceberg. Local communities may have more specific outreach, advocacy, and support in place, but these five organizations are a great place to start.