(Mirror Daily, United States) – Veterans push for medical marijuana law at the State Capitol. Dozens of servicemen and women marched of the White House this year on Veteran’s day in a manifestation of support for the use of medical marijuana as a treatment for diseases that affect veterans in particular, such as PTSD.
The group of medical marijuana supporters left empty bottles of pills in front of the White House as a symbolic gesture meant to showcase the over-medication veterans suffer through in order to recover from the affections sustained during their service. The protesters argued that Veteran Affairs hospitals over-medicate veterans by prescribing large amounts of psychoactive drugs meant to treat PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder), an affliction that affects many of those formerly in service.
Health care providers affiliated with Veteran Affairs can’t discuss medical marijuana treatment options with their veteran patients, not even in the case of states where there are legal medical marijuana programs available. The Veterans Equal Access Amendment, a bill currently in Congress, would allow doctors to recommend participation in these state programs to veterans if they considered it a viable treatment course.
Veterans themselves often find that the treatments prescribed to them consist of a large numbers of prescription pills with powerful and often times undesirable side effects. Jose Martinez, a 27 year-old triple amputee who survived stepping on a bomb during a tour in Afghanistan back in 2012, describes his own problems with the treatment offered to him.
Martinez explains that he was put on a course of several prescription pills which led to a severe pain killer addiction. He has managed to stop using the pills since as he has managed to keep his symptoms at bay by using marijuana. He now works with the Weed for Warriors Project and helps other veterans gain access to this type of treatment.
The protesters were affiliated with several veteran and marijuana advocacy groups and organizers of the march stated that approximately 50 people spent the night in tents placed in McPherson Square, where the headquarters for the Department of Veterans Affairs is located, as part of the effort to draw attention to the issue. The participants gave away samples of cannabis products, offered actual cannabis products for sale and showed photos of veterans smoking marijuana.
They also lit an occasional joint during the march. Besides the empty pill bottles they placed on the ground, the protesters also left 22 American flags on the lawn, each representing one of the 22 veterans that commit suicide everyday according to statistics. They left glow-sticks representing syringes at the base of the flags along with the empty pill containers. The group is now circulating a petition to urge the Obama administration and the Senate to support the Veterans Equal Access Amendment.
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