"The Veterans Cannabis Coalition put this event together to showcase different ways for people to interact with cannabis, the natural relationship between veterans and cannabis, and to help normalize the perception of the herb in the eyes of the general public,” said Eric Goepel, founder & CEO, Veterans Cannabis Coalition. “We see this as part of our overall mission to end prohibition and hope to use events like these to build political support for cannabis reform legislation."
“The fact that Pete Sessions, as chair of the House Rules Committee, has blocked the veterans Equal Access Amendment specifically and cannabis bills generally without anything as much as light admonishment from House leadership, shows where the conference’s true feelings lie.”
“Every day that cannabis prohibition continues is a day a veteran dies unnecessarily. The Republican conferees on the House Appropriations Committee and House Republican leadership should be ashamed of this backroom deal that stripped the Veterans Equal Access amendment from this year’s MILCON-VA appropriations bill. “
We believe this bill recognizes and works to end the absurd and destructive catch-22 that veterans who medicate with cannabis find themselves in—where the federal government criminalizes them for possession, hinders them in talking to their primary care VA doctors about cannabis, and blocks nearly all research into cannabis’ medical efficacy.
Self-care and gainful employment are critical components of life-long success for not just veterans but all Americans. For the federal government to essentially punish citizens, who are under the protection of their state laws, for exercising their right to care for themselves is an affront to personal liberty.
Depressed, anxious, in chronic pain, disconnected from themselves and others, suicidal—this is the reality for some. But for those who discovered cannabis, there was relief. They could sleep, they could relax, they did not feel on constant guard or plagued by memories of war. Most of those veterans now medicate with nothing else but cannabis; they’ve kicked a host of powerful pharmaceuticals and end up having a much better quality of life in the process.
If anyone deserves access to safe and effective medicinal cannabis, it's the men and women who have served our country in the United States Armed Forces. Eric Goepel is an Army veteran and political activist now heading up the Veterans Cannabis Coalition.
“During my time in Washington, D.C. working on veterans affairs policy, I became convinced that ending the prohibition of cannabis was the ‘good war’ I had been searching for. I had seen first-hand the immense benefit that many veterans had experienced medicating with cannabis, often after going through years of conventional pharmaceutical treatments…that destroyed their quality of life.”
"We want the laws to reflect that cannabis should not be considered a schedule I substance—it does have medical value," says Goepel. “To that end, we’re trying to drive research into the VA to study its applications and work ultimately to provide every veteran, no matter which zip code they live in, access to cannabis.”