Veterans to Lobby for Comprehensive Medical Marijuana Legislation, Deliver Letter to Gov. Abbott
Texas veterans will gather at the State Capitol Wednesday, February 22, for a lobby day in support of comprehensive medical marijuana legislation.
The group will hold a news conference at 10:30 a.m. CT in front of the Vietnam Veterans Monument, the same location where Operation Trapped was launched in November 2015.Operation Trapped is a veteran-based campaign that was formed to build support for legislation allowing the use of medical marijuana as a safer alternative to prescription drugs in the treatment of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), traumatic brain injury (TBI), chronic pain, and other service-related conditions.
Immediately after the news conference, the group will deliver a letter to the office of Gov. Greg Abbott, requesting that he meet with some of the veterans who have used medical marijuana to treat PTSD, TBI, and chronic pain. The letter was originally sent to Abbott last year with a request for a meeting with the governor.
The governor’s office has yet to indicate if or when there may be a meeting. Since he ignored it the first time, it will be re-delivered Wednesday with the signatures of more than 1,400 Texas veterans who want Abbott to hear firsthand testimony about benefits of medical marijuana for veterans.
The veterans will then meet with lawmakers throughout the day to voice their support for HB 2107 and SB 269, which would allow seriously ill patients to access medical marijuana if their doctors recommend it.“Cannabis helps treat our service-related conditions,” said David Bass, 60, a Killeen-based U.S. Army veteran who served in Operation Desert Storm and Operation Iraqi Freedom II. “Despite Texas’s outdated and unreasonable laws, many veterans choose to use this plant to replace or supplement pharmaceutical drugs.”
The VA doctor diagnosed Bass with post-traumatic stress disorder and prescribed powerful psychotropic drugs to combat it, reports Christian McPhate at the Dallas Observer. But their side effects, he said, often made him feel worse than his mental illness. “I would rather be dead than use some of those drugs,” he told the Observer shortly before Christmas.
“We should not be criminalized for using a medicine that is now legal in 28 states and our nation’s capital,” Bass said on Tuesday.
“VA doctors are trying to help us,” Bass said. “But their only answer is FDA-approved opioids, which are extremely addictive. We have a lot of veterans who have died from overdoses.”
“Cannabis wasn’t a gateway drug for me,” Bass aid. “It was an exit drug.”
WHAT: News conference to kick off Texas veterans lobby day in support of comprehensive medical marijuana legislation, followed by the delivery of a letter signed by 1,400+ Texas veterans to Gov. Greg Abbott
WHEN: Wednesday, February 22, 10:30 a.m. CT
WHERE: Texas Capitol Vietnam Veterans Monument, northeast side of Texas State Capitol grounds (near the corner of 14th and Brazos Streets), Austin
WHO: David Bass, Killeen-based U.S. Army veteran who served in Iraq
Additional Texas veterans
Representatives from Texans for Responsible Marijuana Policy