Fight For Those Who Fought For You
Fight For Those Who Fought For You
On November 4th, 2021 the Veterans Medical Marijuana Safe Harbor Amendment was floated as an attachment to the National Defense Authorization Act. As legislation goes, it is entirely inadequate. Foremost, the VA is supposed to be the "Safe Harbor”, not sovereign tribal nations, states, or local municipalities. We are federal patients.
The most meaningful direct action addressing the suicide/opiate epidemic within the military community would be to expand the compassionate Investigational New Drug (IND) program immediately through the VA. This would ensure we don’t leave Veterans behind in states where cannabis remains illegal. The federal IND program expansion can be implemented quickly, providing actual Safe Harbor for Veterans through the VA.
The VA needs to be compelled to release publicly information from VA Directive 1315 pertaining to cannabis use by Veterans. This data should have already been gathered from Veterans in “legal” states who have been communicating their medical use of cannabis to their primary care teams since 2011. If it is not available, an explanation needs to likewise be furnished to the public. We are calling for a Congressional Investigation into this issue.
If it were up to us, we (the Weed For Warriors Project) would introduce federal legislation which:
Releases to the public data collected per VA directive 1315 and its predecessors, since 2011;
Releases to the public all relevant data from the federal compassionate IND program pertaining to the safety, and efficacy of cannabis being used by the participating federal patients who have passed away, since 1976;
Provides for training and continuing education uniformly across the Veterans Integrated Service Network (VISN) level including, but not limited to the history of cannabis medicine; the function of the endocannabinoid system; new discoveries as research is conducted; and federal/state policy in order to best uniformly integrate treatment into federal patient care;
Uniformly expands the federal Compassionate Investigational New Drug Program (IND) through the VA;
Recognizes Veterans enrolled with, and receiving care from the VA as federal patients, requiring laws/policy being applied uniformly in all fifty states and territories of the U.S., reflecting the unique status of military (federal) personnel;
Provides an identifier on VA patient data cards identifying participating Veterans as federal cannabis patients; eliminating threat of prosecution/incarceration while traveling within the U.S. or on federal property with their medicine;
Provides for VA to grow cannabis for Veterans participating in the expanded IND program, and occupational therapy programs. Uniformly promoting home cultivation, and medicinal access to a broad variety of cannabis products, and;
Provides for a cannabis voucher system within the VA for Veterans to access cannabis under individual state medical cannabis programs/dispensaries.
Charters through Congress, new Veteran Service Organizations (VSOs) working in this field.
The WFWP State Program Template
These recommendations are intended to provide guidance related to veterans and medical cannabis in states across the country.
Many groups have followed our lead in providing certifications and medicine for Veterans in “legal” states across the country, now it is time to implement another strategy. The American Legion, and Veterans of Foreign Wars are hemorrhaging membership, and posts across the country are falling into disrepair and foreclosure. These need to be transitioned into members-only compassion centers for our women and men who have served their country.
Based on our experience in the trenches, we have made the following observations of what baseline policy Veterans need states to implement:
Recognize cannabis as a viable treatment option for Veterans within their borders.
Provide incentives within the cannabis space as are already offered for Veterans in other state programs, such as fee waivers, job placement, and special licensing considerations.
Provide for cannabis dispensary licenses to be used by new or existing Veteran Service Organizations (VSOs)/Compassion Centers who choose to move away from alcohol sales.
Protect the ability of these VSOs/Compassion Centers to host cannabis farmer’s markets.
Protect the ability of these VSOs/Compassion Centers to give/receive cannabis donations to/for Veterans in need.
A new VSO is needed so Veterans can engage with each other and their community in a healthy, productive manner. This new VSO model does not involve alcohol. It implements a more conducive, harm reduction approach geared toward:
Reducing the suicide rate within the Veteran community;
Reducing the dependence on pharmaceuticals within the Veteran community;
Providing a safe environment for Veterans, their families, and friends;
Increasing the quality of life for Veterans, and their families;
Establishing new networking opportunities within the Veteran community;
Identifying and perpetuating positive trends within the Veteran community;
Designing metrics to monitor the utilization/effectiveness of proposed programs.
Agriculture Therapy Program Promoting Post Traumatic Growth
Finally, as it relates to the individual, gardening is a great way to engage the natural world. There are many programs geared toward assisting transitioning service members who are interested in pursuing careers in agriculture. Whether for therapy, as a profession, or hobby, growing cannabis should be encouraged. From learning more about the medicine they are growing, to providing a way to earn a living, or by furthering their education, Veterans stand to benefit greatly in this field. Given the support for Veterans residing in “legal” cannabis states, we’ve included a basic list for anyone interested in growing their own medicine.
General Equipment List (depends on method, goals, and level of experience):
Cannabis Grower’s Handbook (Ed Rosenthal, Angela Bacca, et al.)
Genetics (fem seeds, reg seeds, or clones)
Light(s) (multiple options)
Soil, or soilless medium
Nutrients and/or natural amendments
PH up and PH down
Basic veg nutrients
Basic flower nutrients
2x Circulation fans
Fabric or Plastic pot(s)
Plant saucer(s) for drainage
Surge protector power strip
Water TDS meter
Water EC and ppm meter
Water PH meter (or all-in-on: TDS/EC/PH)
Temperature and humidity gauge w/ 24hr high/low
Straps and pulleys for lights, fans, and filters
Outlet timer(s) (two is good)
Cleaning wipes and/or bleach
17 gal or comparable size plastic container for mixing soils
Blackout curtains and reflective material, insulation (to cover windows and keep heating/cooler costs lower, + privacy.)
5 gallon water jug
5 gallon bucket
Air pump and Airstone
Clothes hangers or drying hangers/racks
Ethanol (for cleaning trimming and other equipment)
Unscented, uncolored, non-powdered gloves
Mason jars for bottling
Quality water source or filtration capabilities
Humidifier and/or dehumidifier (depending on region)
Training ties or other similar