Texas Veterans Push for Marijuana Reform

AUSTIN, Texas – Veterans returning from war often come back with invisible scars — those were the stories shared among Texas vets during a conference at the state capitol.

“When I came back from Iraq I was having nightmares, insomnia, hyper-vigilance, paranoia and feeling that I really didn’t want to leave my house. Cannabis allowed me to get those symptoms under control,” said David Bass, an Iraq War veteran.

Activists hoping for a reform in Texas’ marijuana policies are calling on lawmakers to look past the stigma.

“This is actually helping veterans, not harming veterans. They’re able to quit their addiction to opioids and their dependency to psychotropic medications,” said Bass.

They insist vets are often prescribed cocktails of antidepressants to relieve post-traumatic stress disorders.

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“It’s not the doctor’s fault – it’s the system. The system is broken and it needs to be fixed. We’re here to raise awareness and bring a fix to the system,” said Clifford Deuvall, founding executive director of the Waco branch of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws.

Activists say similar reforms have been implemented successfully across 25 states and D.C. They say a similar path can be carved out here at home.

“The question is how do we move from it being totally illegal to having a well-regulated medical marijuana program in Texas,” said Bass.

With 1.7 million veterans living in the state, Texas has the largest population in the country — and with that, activists say, a greater demand away from prescription medicine.

“I think the vision for Texas is exactly down that avenue. We need to offer viable healthcare alternatives,” said Deuvall

Activists say they’ll deliver letters to Governor Greg Abbott on Veterans Day next month — all from veterans who support marijuana reform. But for now the fight to rally congressional support continues.

Originally published here: http://www.twcnews.com/tx/austin/news/2016/10/15/texas-veterans-push-for-marijuana-reform.html