American Legion Never Forgets that Veterans Matter
The American Legion is the nation’s largest wartime veterans service organization, committed to mentoring youth and sponsorship of wholesome programs in our communities, advocating patriotism and honor, promoting strong national security, and continued devotion to our fellow servicemembers and veterans.
This was the first veteran organization I joined upon separation from the US Marine Corps. I loved the Corps. At times, I wish I never left. Everyday I’m thankful for the opportunity, experience, and the knowledge I learned. Humanity is special, life is short, and we have great opportunities here in the United States. Other countries are great as well, but this is my home. The American Legion membership had similiar ambitions to make a difference, it was not just a bunch of people in a bar.
A couple of years ago the American Legion came to stand up for veteran access to medicine in supporting medical marijuana access to veterans. Like other veteran groups spear-heading safe access to medicine, the American Legion is by far the largest.
Legitimize Medical Use
Top officials at of The American Legion, the nation’s largest veterans organization, on Friday stepped up their calls for the federal government to legitimize and invest in medical marijuana research.
In a speech to the National Press Club in Washington, D.C., the Legion National Commander Denise Rohan outlined how the White House and Congress could improve the delivery of benefits to the nation’s 20 million-plus veterans. Medical cannabis was included in the list.
In fulfilling its mission to make sure veterans are taken care of, “we have to find replacements for the opioid epidemic we have in this nation,” Rohan said.
The organization’s call for additional research into cannabis as a potential treatment for post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), pain and other ailments was reiterated by Louis Celli, National Director Veterans Affairs & Rehabilitation at the Legion. While Connecticut’s medical program does include PTSD diagnosis as an approved condition, PTSD is approved for MMJ in only 25 states of the 46 states with either CBD and/or THC based programs. Why is it we cannot agree to fund more studies to prove what so many veterans know already is true.
“We just need to know that the American government is focused on trying to find cures for not only veterans but for all Americans,” he said. “And if cannabis, which is a drug, is something that can help (then) they have to do the research to do that.”
The Legion has passed several resolutions on cannabis over the past two years. A 2016 measure calls on the Drug Enforcement Agency to license privately-funded medical marijuana operations, ensuring “safe and efficient” research into cannabis. It also asks for the rescheduling of cannabis from its current, decades-long classification as a Schedule 1 drug into a category that, “at a minimum, will recognize cannabis as a drug with a potential medical value.”
The other resolution, passed last year, calls on the Veterans Administration (VA) to allow its medical advisors to openly discuss the use of medical cannabis with veterans for medical purposes – as well as to recommend medicinal cannabis where it is legal.
Last November, a Legion-commissioned national survey showed strong support for medical cannabis research and legalization within the military veteran community.
— American Legion DC (@legionindc) February 23, 2018
The Need for Social Change
When will the Department of Veteran Affairs actually start listening to what the veterans are going through and try to help those in need. The United States has a long history of war. We have an opportunity to help veterans where previous generations fell short. In World War I, we called it “shell-shock.” How many WWI veterans were forgotten and lost during a time when the nation was dealing with a Great Depression? After WWII,the nation was consumed with industrialization. A workforce was needed and what became the ideal was a hard work ethic. Some could say being a workaholic is a sign of avoidance, but let’s not forget that this generation was also associated to alcohol abuse and, in some cases, domestic verbal and physical abuse. When bad things get worse… Vietnam. Not only did people not understand how cannabis could assist PTSD, the government started to use cannabis as a political tool with confirmed racial bias to imprison people against the state.