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News Posted Feb 13 2018

Attorney General Jeff Sessions is being sued by a growing number of people for perpetuating marijuana's federally illegal status and keeping it as a Schedule 1 drug next to heroin. The newest member in the lawsuit is Jose Belen who spent several years serving in the U.S. military overseas in Iraq. Jose, like many of his brothers and sisters in the military, saw friends die in battle, even returning home cannot fix the hole that a traumatic experience like that creates. The medications given to him by the VA did not help his PTSD and instead made his life much worse to the point of his family fearing who he had become. With his life falling apart around him he turned to something new, cannabis, and to his surprise it gave him his smile back since before his first day in combat. He found cannabis to be a remedy for his PTSD and hopes others like him will be able to find relief as well, but VA doctors are not allowed to treat veterans with medical cannabis due to it's federally illegal status. Everyday roughly 20 veterans commit suicide, nearly 1 in 5 Iraq and Afghanistan war vets suffer from PTSD, yet the treatment they receive after returning home is almost never enough. Jose is standing up for the veterans and patients of the past, present and future who could benefit from medical cannabis.

The pills, venlafaxine and nortriptyline, turned him into “basically the Incredible Hulk," the 35-year-old told Newsweek last week from his home in Orlando, Florida. He scared his wife and kids, and he was furious. “I nearly snapped,” he said.

That treatment was a breaking point. And it turned out that after an assortment of medications his VA doctor prescribed to him, the one that finally worked was one the VA couldn’t prescribe: medical marijuana.

On February 14, after battling PTSD for 13 and a half years, the combat veteran and married father of two will be taking the U.S. government to court over the drug. He’s one of five plaintiffs, including a 12-year-old with epilepsy, suing Attorney General Jeff Sessions over medical marijuana, alleging that the Controlled Substances Act (CSA), which deems marijuana illegal, is unconstitutional.

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