by Todd Mitchem
In 2016 the now President Trump talked a great deal about supporting our vets and in particular discussed his concern for the over 22 vet suicide deaths each day. This is one of the reasons we support our new President, his focus on our military men and women who work each day or did serve to keep America great. In one presentation the President committed to support veterans and their holistic mental health.
Back when I was the CEO and co-founded High There! (Social network for marijuana consumers to find friends and connections) we saw a huge influx of veterans join the app in record numbers. In fact we took an active role in hiring vets to work in our development team designing the app and one of those employees in particular utilized marijuana legally so that he could get over his PTSD naturally without the use of the dangerous drugs given to him by his doctor. So when we launched our new effort to legalize cannabis, we looked to the veterans for support and they have responded in large numbers. In fact much of our new effort is being funded by private donations by vets, veteran leaders in the cannabis industry and with the help of many groups who support vets.
But why are our nations soldiers so positive about marijuana consumption to help them with their many health challenges? From the tens of thousands of vets I have met with, spoken to at large conferences and hear from on a daily basis, they all carry the same three points for why they choose and see cannabis as something that should immediately be legalized.
1) Jobs – The Bureau of Labor Statics stated that as of 2015 there were 21.2 million men and women who were veterans and of that nearly 6% were out of work. That is nearly 1.2 million jobless former soldiers who served this country. With the full legalization of marijuana presented by our plan, we could see jobs increase by over 2 million in the next two years with a high degree of those jobs going to veterans. Also, with legalization, those same dedicated workers could consume marijuana for recreation or medical reasons and not lose their job as a result.
2) Replacement for dangerous prescription drugs – While many people differ on the number, on average we lose over 22 veterans a day to suicide because the many prescription drugs they take in a layered format not only do not help their depression, PTSD or other related ailments, they often make them worse and spin these heroes into a deep state of depression, loss of jobs, loss of purpose and ultimately which leads to suicide. So if you are against legalization then you must be for allowing our most noble Americans to take their own lives. The fact is that vets who utilize marijuana for these issues are more stable, healthier and in a much safer mental frame. Many vets in fact report that it is marijuana which saves their lives from the pills the VA gives them as well as alcohol.
3) Feeling balanced – Unlike dangerous prescription medications or alcohol, marijuana has few adverse side effects. When you consumer marijuana on a Saturday night you do not wake with a hangover or feeling depressed, and veterans see this as creating a balance. When we have talked to our military, they all tell us a similar story in that they return home and struggle to find a societal and day to day personal equilibrium. The difficulty in transitioning back to civilian life can be especially difficult when these soldiers begin taking the many drugs given to them that are deemed, “safe” but actually create a dangerous suicide making cocktail. It is pot, these veterans say, which drives them to balance.
So as we at TMC continue to work on this national effort to legalize marijuana, we are working with and for our veterans to support their use of this truly groundbreaking plant to relieve their ailments, both mentally and physically.
It's time to support our vets and legalize! I for one will fight to the end for them.