Getting veterans involved in the liberation of cannabis

By Dave Nelson

To the military side of our family, there is a Veteran Affairs Canada new Charter of Rights. What does this mean for you? If you have completed basic training and have been honourably released, there may be some assistance for you. At the same time, attitudes about using cannabis as medicine are changing in the military. Those who have put their lives on the line for freedom in this country should be high on the list of people to receive protection from persecution for using this herb.

Many members of the Cannabis Buyers’ Clubs of Canada are former military, with the base in Esquimalt and the climate attracting veterans for a variety of reasons. Though the club does not yet have a legal permit to operate, Health Canada has been issuing licenses to possess and grow cannabis for medical purposes since 2001. Military medical staff are becoming more familiar with the use of cannabis for a variety of health problems, as people lose their fear of being honest with them about their use of the herb.

Veteran Affairs Canada has a 24 hour toll free crisis help line that is there to help veterans maintain a good quality of life by providing assistance with the following: marital and family problems, transitional problems, emotional and psychologi- cal, substance abuse, financial difficulties, and other personal problems. Veterans can also meet with a counselor or specialist confidentially, who can provide answers to your questions.

For 24 hour service, call the Assistance Service Operators at:1-800-268- 7708 or TDD 1-800-567-5803

I will be available on the first Wednesday of each month from 10:00 to 14:00, at the CBC of C (Home Base) to answer questions and help you navigate through this process. If it is an emergency, leave your name and number at Home Base, and I will contact you as soon as possible to assist in any way I can. If there are any members of the CBC of C who have gone through the pension process, and would like to help our brothers and sisters, please contact me.

While I have some experience with these issues, the more people we have working together to advocate for medical cannabis in the veteran community, the sooner the herb will become fully integrated into the health care system. Others interested in running an information table at Home Base on other Wednesdays or writing articles, should get in touch with me. We may even form a new group of veterans for medicinal cannabis, if there is enough interest.

The more people that get involved, the faster our needs can be addressed. We don’t want to be perceived as criminals for taking the medication that works best for us. Many are tired of being given opiates and other medications that cause a deterioration of their lifestyle. We deserve the option of marijuana and its derivatives to help us legally cope with our conditions.

In summary, if more people registered with Veteran Affairs and become more vocal about using this medicine, we can effectively change this ridiculous law that has legally bound us to the use of heavy, debilitating opiates and others prescription drugs.