VCC Convenes "Perspectives on Cannabis Prohibition"
by the Veterans Cannabis Coalition
On Tuesday, February 20, 2018 the Veterans Cannabis Coalition brought together veterans, medical professionals, and law enforcement to discuss the impact of cannabis prohibition.
Colin Wells, the founder of Veterans Walk and Talk, an outdoor peer-support group, and Bill Ferguson, co-founder of VCC, discussed the challenges they faced returning to civilian life after an intense combat deployments to Afghanistan and Iraq, respectively. After completing their enlistments, they returned home to deal with the mental and physical wounds and they sustained during their service. The help they got from medical professionals largely amounted to being prescribed a cocktail of opioids, benzodiazepines, and other powerful psychoactive drugs. When those drugs failed to provide relief, and the as the side-effects destroyed their quality of life, they both turned in desperation to cannabis. For both, cannabis has allowed them to return to normal functioning and inspired them to fight for access for all of their brothers- and sisters-in-arms who could profoundly benefit.
Following their discussion, Howard Wooldridge of Citizens Opposing Prohibition, Maggie Seymour of High Ground Veterans Advocacy, and Brian Muraresku of Doctors for Cannabis Regulation joined the panel and provided their perspectives on how cannabis prohibition shapes everything from medical research to drug trafficking to military recruitment. The end result of prohibition, however, is the unnecessary incarceration and criminalization of millions of people while simultaneously denying millions more access to a substance that existing research and anecdotal evidence correlates to health improvements in people across a spectrum of conditions.
While every speaker looked at cannabis prohibition through a different lens--whether it is one of compassionate access, returning law enforcement to its role providing for public safety, or regulation and research--all arrived at the same conclusion: end cannabis prohibition now. The time has come to put the United States on the common-sense path toward reform and restoration, and close out the chapter on one of the worst public policies of the 20th century.