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STEVE ELLIOTT

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On Veteran’s Day our country is facing an opioid-use epidemic and a suicide crisis. Weed for Warriors Project, a nonprofit dedicated to helping veterans find relief from service related disabilities through medical marijuana, on Friday called on the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to finally stop blocking the legal, ethical and responsible use of medical marijuana and safer medical alternatives for veterans. 

Brandon L. Wyatt, Weed for Warriors Project: "Quote" [The BUD Summit]
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Brandon L. Wyatt, Weed for Warriors Project:
“To date, the VA has irresponsibly refused to take an ethical, responsible and compassionate position on medical marijuana”
[The BUD Summit]

“With eight of nine states voting in favor of responsible marijuana reforms this past election, it is clear that more Americans than ever recognize that our nation’s drug policies are a failure, which ruin lives and deny our veterans access to the best comprehensive healthcare and safer medical alternatives like medical marijuana,” said Brandon L. Wyatt, national policy advisor for Weed for Warriors Project.

“While the majority of states have taken important steps forward towards implementing sensible drug policy reforms, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, Congress and DC establishment continue to disregard the best interests of our servicemen and women by denying them access to safer medical alternatives than opioids,” Wyatt said. “To date, the VA has irresponsibly refused to take an ethical, responsible and compassionate position on medical marijuana, a plant which has been scientifically proven to be less harmful than alcohol and tobacco, yet shockingly remains a Schedule I substance with the likes of heroin under the Controlled Substances Act. 

“Weed for Warriors Project should not need to remind the VA that two-thirds of our servicemen and women, who return home from deployments in the Middle East, and more than half of older veterans suffer from chronic pain,” Wyatt said. “There’s also about 2.7 million American veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, and at least 20 percent of Iraq and Afghanistan veterans who suffer from PTSD and/or depression.

“Unfortunately for our military men and women and for those that love us, that’s not even the worst of it,” Wyatt said. “Everyday, approximately 22 veterans commit suicide, which accounts for 18 percent of all suicides across the country, yet veterans only make up less than nine percent of the U.S. population. 

“By now it should be no secret that the use of opioids have been known to intensify PTSD symptoms as well as increase the likelihood of opioid dependence,” Wyatt said. “Both can have deadly consequences, especially for those veterans suffering from PTSD. 

“Ironically and unbelievably though, the VA continues to have its doctors dole out opioids to treat PTSD, even though the VA’s own researchers have admitted that opiate overdose deaths are twice as likely among veterans than the general population,” Wyatt said. “How is this even possible? It certainly is not ethical, compassionate nor does it serve the best interests of our veterans or their families.

“Twenty-eight states and the District of Columbia have legally passed medical marijuana initiatives,” Wyatt said. “It’s time that we hold the VA accountable for its inaction. We call on the VA to immediately stop irresponsibly blocking our veterans from comprehensive healthcare and safer medical alternatives like medical marijuana. The time is now for the VA to take a realistic and responsible position on comprehensive healthcare, which must include access to legal medical marijuana and compassionate care treatments for veterans. 

“How much longer will the VA make veterans like us wait?” Wyatt asked. “Doesn’t the VA owe our servicemen and women more?   

“We look forward to the VA finally taking a courageous, sensible and responsible position on medical marijuana and comprehensive healthcare,” Wyatt said. “The time has come to do the right and just thing on behalf of veterans — we are still waiting.”

About Weed for Warriors Project

Weed for Warriors Project was started in the San Francisco Bay Area by an Operation Enduring Freedom 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.

With the help of organizations like Santa Cruz Veterans Alliance, Weed for Warriors Project is able to provide Veterans with medical marijuana information, a safe place to fellowship with other Veterans and safe access to free medicine with proof of service/ current medical recommendation.

Weed for Warriors Twitter: @wfwp_actual
Weed for Warriors Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Weed4Warriors/

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