Skin in the Game: The Intersection of Military Leadership and Cannabis Panel

Session Abstract

The veteran voice in the cannabis conversation is respected, Incredibly influential, and well organized. The reason for this, is that military veterans have skin in the game! They have served our Country, fighting wars abroad and providing security domestically. But once discharged from military service, many veterans are prescribed a cocktail of pharmaceutical medicines that often can result in side effects such as increased depression, dependence, or death. The veteran population is suffering from a very well-known suicide and substance abuse crisis. Decades of American Wars have left hundreds of thousands of veterans battling issues of post-traumatic stress, chronic pain, anxiety, depression and a feeling of hopelessness. Many have found solace in cannabis and believe it is high time that the US Department of Defense and Veterans Administration recognize that cannabis as a medicine is working effectively within the veteran community to save lives, leading to better patient outcomes.

Military Forces have been using cannabis since at least 900 B.C. according to archeologists who have found evidence of female Scythian warriors ‘hotboxing’ their tents before entering battle, and the United States military used cannabis as a medicine up until its prohibition in 1937 especially in the exploration and expansion of the American West.

Today, however, cannabis is a taboo subject within the halls of the Pentagon and the Veterans Administration, our Nation’s largest healthcare system. This audience-inclusive discussion is meant to provide a forum for US military who are deeply focused on the cannabis industry and its potential to treat the wounds of war, both visible and invisible. We will also delve into the subject of cannabis and hemp as a form of development across state, National, and international landscapes. We will question how the New Jersey medical cannabis laws could help focus the attention of federal government agencies such as the Department of Defense and the VA facilitating research and expanding access for veterans to medical cannabis.

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