A little known issue, but one that is of a serious nature to thousands of U.S. veterans, is veterans are not able to get the medicine they need depending on which state they happen to be living or traveling. In a combined effort to educate the public and Florida legislators. On November 5, 2013 three organizations will begin the Florida Veteran's Whistle Stop Tour in Viera, Florida. Florida Cannabis Action Network, NORML of Florida Veterans Committee and Veterans For Medical Cannabis Access will tour the state of Florida ending in Crestview, Florida on Veteran's Day which is on November 11, 2013.
The issue at hand is that a veteran living in California can be treated with medicinal marijuana however a veteran living in Florida cannot. Currently, veterans in 20 states have access to treatment not available in the remaining 30 states. This is a lack of consistent treatment of veterans among all fifty states, violates accepted standards of care and stands contrary to the basic mission of the VA to treat all veterans equally based on their service connection and their level of disability. State law allows veterans in 20 states to use cannabis without fear of losing VA services including access to controlled-substances. In the remaining 30 states, veterans are denied the option to use cannabis and VA personnel are prohibited from discussing cannabis as a treatment option.
This most recent effort is three pronged. One is to have leaders in Congress call a committee hearing to determine the best way to assure veterans in all 50 states have access to this medicinal plant that is proven to be effective for many conditions veterans currently face. Second is to legalize cannabis in the state of Florida, either complete legalization or at least for medical use. The third objective is to legalize cannabis in the United States, removing it as a Schedule 1 drug.
Cannabis-based therapy is growing in popularity because, according to the National Cancer Institute at the National Institutes of Health's government website, "cannabinoid receptors, unlike opioid receptors, are not located in the brainstem areas controlling respiration, lethal overdoses from Cannabis and cannabinoids do not occur; their addictive potential is considerably lower than that of other prescribed agents or substances of abuse." In fact, the U.S. government hold a patent on cannabinoids for the last ten years noting its medicinal value. Most important to veterans is the benefits cannabis has been proven to help with PTSD, traumatic brain injuries, phantom limb pain, chronic pain amongst others.