No matter how much progress we’ve made when it comes to legalizing medical marijuana, the truth is that there are still too many who are waiting for access. For veterans, that wait is even more challenging as they must make the choice between using medical marijuana and paying out of pocket or going with pharmaceuticals and sticking with the VA, where those drugs are likely covered.
Veterans who are a part of Texas Veterans for Medical Marijuana gathered this week to present state lawmakers with a message – in the form of a piece of art they are calling “Operation Trapped”. The display is made up of hundreds of pill bottles, each provided by a veteran, carrying a note explaining why they want the state of Texas to offer a more expansive and accessible medical marijuana program.
“Our message in a bottle to Governor Abbott and our legislators is that we choose this natural medicine rather than the pills,” said David Bass, veteran and founder of Texas Veterans for Medical Marijuana.
Right now, Texas continues to be one of the most conservative states when it comes to medical marijuana laws. Though the state expanded their law this year to allow patients with a number of new conditions to have access to medical marijuana, they only allow low-THC, high-CBD strains of the plant, such as those that would qualify as hemp. For many people – especially veterans suffering from PTSD or chronic pain – this isn’t always what works best to provide relief.
“I’ve lost more friends to suicide than I have in combat and so you know, it became a point where it was less about cannabis and more about just saving my brothers and sisters,” said Raines.
These veterans have fought for our country, and now they are fighting for themselves – for the right to medicate with a plant that could provide them with real relief. Many have seen it for themselves through friends or experimented even though it is illegal – because it could save their life. And in many states, these men and women would have access to medical marijuana.
“We’re really focused between now and 2021 on reaching out to every one of our senators with our stories, to tell them that that we need the Senate to pass a medical marijuana bill next legislative session,” said Bass.
With efforts focused on getting legislators to pass truly expanded medical marijuana access, hopefully lawmakers will listen, and these veterans will soon be able to use the medicine they need.