18 Dec Why ‘Weed For Warriors Project’ is So Important
There are 19 million veterans living in the United States. Those veterans play key roles in our community influencing everything from political, social, and economic life.
No… the person writing this is not a veteran, but I live in the same civilian community these veterans are attempting to transition into. A process that they may find difficult due to physical and psychological injuries due to their service.
As a member of this community, hopefully you would agree that it is important to do what you can to contribute to it. Hopefully you will also agree that we owe those who put their life on the line to fight for this community. And the unfortunate truth is the community itself doesn’t do enough for its veteran community.
The psychological wounds of war leaves veterans fighting with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), depression, and anti-social tendencies while they try to assimilate into civilian society. The VA hospitals don’t tend to help, with inadequate mental health treatments and an inability to prevent the high suicide rates. Their solution seems to be to throw dangerous drugs at the problem. In a 2012 study by the Journal of the American Medical Association, it was found that veterans with PTSD were two times more likely to receive an opioid prescription, and at higher and more frequent doses.
This lack of community support shows a need for support within the veteran community. Especially from veteran run organizations calling for an alternative treatment to the VA prescribed opiates.
Weed for Warriors Project
One such organization is the Weed for Warriors Project. Founded in 2014 by Kevin Richardson, and propelled forward by current CEO Sean Kiernan, the group now has 8 chapters in California, 3 in Florida, and one in Wisconsin.
Their mission is apparent from their name. They want to give weed to veterans.
Their name might be comical to some, but their mission is real and offers a sustainable alternative to the veterans’ issues that Veteran Affairs has failed to solve. Although it doesn’t solve the lack of mental health treatment available maybe rather than “throwing” opiates at veterans suffering from pain and PTSD, maybe we should “throw” cannabis?
The claim, from the cannabis activism community, seems to satisfy the issues at hand. They claim that cannabis is a viable treatment for pain, depression, anxiety, and PTSD. All of which are issues plaguing the veteran community.
Weed for Warriors Project does more than just “throw” weed at veteran issues. In fact that is a vast oversimplification of what the group does. The truth is, in addition to the groups philosophy that cannabis is a suitable medicine for veterans, the group realizes it isn’t the answer to all of veteran’s problems. The group is there to support veterans in every which way possible.
I admitted that I am not a veteran earlier in this article, but I have been to Weed for Warriors Meetings. As owner of Chillum CBD Dispensary, we have made it a point to let the local chapter know they are always welcomed to hold their meeting in our space. Although they require proof of service this has given me access to join these meetings. Unlike any other type of meeting I’ve ever seen before. There never seems to be a focus of attention at any point and they never sit in a circle and talk about their problems. Truth is they seem to be just hanging out.
What they are doing; however, is so much deeper than that. They are talking to each other, sharing war stories, venting about their issues, and providing each other with a network of comradery. Although the meeting is a crucial part of the support network Weed for Warriors provides, the true magic happens after the meeting. Now that these brothers and sisters have networked and exchanged contact info, they make themselves available to each other. I’ve seen it before, if one veteran is having an issue that requires four of their brothers and sisters to drive across the state to show their support, then that’s just what they do.
Not only have I seen several Weed for Warriors members and chapter heads at their meetings, but I have also met with them a number of times in the Tallahassee Capitol Building and at other advocacy events and government meetings. I’ve been in meetings where a Weed for Warriors member has mentioned an issue to a Senator and the Senator writes a bill to try to fix the issue. Long story short, these guys and girls get involved. Especially here in Florida.
Weed for Warriors has also been fighting for medical research to be done on medical cannabis. Working with researchers such as Sue Sisley to research the use of cannabis for conditions such as PTSD.
Weed for Warriors has been working to expand its for profit side of its business. Working to develop a vertically integrated cannabis operation, and in turn developing a cannabis brand which could provide economic opportunities for veterans. The idea is that veterans need more than just advocacy by veterans, they need products “for vets by vets”. There are other offsets to the cannabis brand possible; including, apparel, healthcare, housing, media, and more.