March 18th, 2009 | By
My foray into the realm of medical marijuana began with a simple visit to our newly-opened patient center in Olympia. At first, I was not sure what to expect, as this was really the last place I would have thought I would be a decade ago. I honestly expected to see some police presence, although I am thankful there was none.
I expected jars of weed behind glass counters like you see in pictures of the dispensaries in California. Like my expected police presence, there was nothing. I sniffed the air, and no smell of ganja wafted to my nostrils. Was I even in the right place? I appeared to be in a small office waiting room that included a small glass counter with what appeared to be educational pamphlets on top, a few old institutional grade chairs, and a desk behind a glass partition next to a closed door leading to what I assumed where more offices.
Right at that moment, a gentleman about my age (late thirties) sauntered out of the back, dreadlocks, hemp tie dye T-shirt and reeking of marijuana. I knew then I was at the right place. His eyes were as glazed as a Krispy Kreme donut, of which I am sure he was searching. To my surprise, he politely asked me if I needed any help.
I tried to explain the reason for my visit, but I was so used to talking around the “pot” issue that I was having some difficulty making myself clear. Considering that I was sober, and the man helping me was stoned, you would think I had the mental drop on him. Nope. He finished my line of thought for me with “so you need a doctor’s recommendation for cannabis.”
“Well, yes” I said. “But there is something you should know; I do not have cancer or AIDS.” To this he replied, “That’s okay. Do you have any of these symptoms?” He then rattled off a list of ailments, seventy-five percent of which I suffer from. I glumly told him this fact and he smiled and handed me a stack of paperwork to fill out.
As I filled out the paperwork, I felt compelled to converse with the friendly character. I asked him if they saw many vets. He said, “Yes, we get a lot of you guys coming in here.” I queried him as to how he figured that I was a vet. He replied that he had noticed a certain look about me the moment I came in. I am not sure what constitutes that certain look, but I have been told this before. I wondered if this was going to be a problem.
In my mind, things could have gone differently. Almost 20 years ago, had it not been for injuries sustained to me during the war, I would most likely have moved on to law enforcement. I could have been one of those men with his boot on the neck of some hapless medical patient, stripping them of their rights and dignity. Thank God my tank ran me over and knocked some sense into me.
It became clearly evident that my past was not going to be a problem. The man helping me told me that he was grateful for my service, but it was time to stand down and heal thyself. It seemed to me that for being stoned, this man was perceptive, compassionate and intelligent. Not what you would consider your atypical pothead. How much more wrong can one get? Well, apparently, the Government can. I learned all my previous behavior on marijuana policy from them.
Despite all facts that had previously been presented before me, I wanted to know that I was not the only one doing just the opposite of the strict Army mandate prohibiting marijuana. I needed to know that I was not supporting terrorists that would kill my brother and sister soldiers with money that came from my wallet. Am I healing myself or am I feeding addiction?
After an hour of education from the enlightened individual at the clinic, and some objective research done by myself, I have come up with some answers.
In answer to my first concern, Yes, there are many veterans who use marijuana to stave off the after affects of their service. In fact, I have met many of them already.
No, my money is not supporting terrorists, but prohibition does. Even the atypical liar-heads that work for the big name media have been squawking like terrified chickens about how illicit marijuana is funding these brutal drug cartels. Stop using tax dollars to bust harmless patients and recreational users. Then use the proceeds saved from the lost war on drugs and gained from the fair taxation of marijuana to stomp the living daylights out of real terrorists! You know, the ones cutting off people’s heads. The fact that terrorists and cartels will lose roughly half of their funding, while we double ours, spells sad news for the real bad guys.
As for healing and addiction, the answers are two fold. For all the medications the VA prescribed me, not one worked the way it was supposed to. I gained one hundred and fifty pounds (doubled my weight), developed worsening cardiac problems, suffered from horrible depression, could not think straight, had no libido, felt sicker than a dog and just plain did not care if I lived or died.
In reality, I have been prescribed enough benzodiazepines (tranquilizers) to kill a whale. To boot, they did not take care of the pain, PTSD, nausea, nightmares or anxiety. With marijuana therapy, I am back to my normal weight and the severity of my other symptoms is more or less manageable. Marijuana is no cure for what I have, but it makes life far more bearable.
While I was going to the VA, I drank heavily and worked in professions that required me to carry a firearm. Alcohol was the only “legal” thing I could take that numbed the pain. When I came off of the medications, I was violently ill for about two weeks. Now I no longer drink, take anti-depressants, tranquilizers or pain medications. I still have to take other meds for the rest of my life, but I take far less and feel much better. So pardon me if I don’t appreciate some bureaucratic bean counter telling me how to manage my health or deeming me an addict because I use marijuana medically.
I also realized being a veteran was empowering. Folks listen to what I have to say. No one questions that, of all our citizens, soldiers and veterans have a right to have their voices heard and deserve straight answers. Society becomes outraged when they see veterans getting screwed by the people they have bled for. If you are a veteran and you believe in marijuana reform, then say something. If you are not a veteran, but support those who are, then say something on their behalf. People will listen.
Posted in Cannabis Education
, Medical Marijuana
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