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Medical cannabis for veterans

Published: Tuesday, March 1, 2016 11:20 a.m. CDT

From Jon Custis

Anamosa

I am a Vietnam veteran, and I am so disappointed in our state government for denying medical cannabis to veterans with post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and thus turning its backs on the 22 veterans that commit suicide daily. I have spent so much of my adult life not being able to sleep, having nightmares, flashbacks and lying in bed contemplating suicide.

I have been watching the medical cannabis fight in Iowa since 2010 when the Iowa Pharmacy Board recommended that cannabis be rescheduled as having medical use. I was a little involved in 2014, but did not go to Des Moines to advocate for medical cannabis. Last year, I did get involved. I made several trips to Des Moines to talk with politicians, went to legislative forums, testified and even submitted to an interview with our local paper. I did everything I could to get a bill through the legislature. I met some very fine, brave, honorable politicians in Des Moines and across the state. I have also talked to some of those heartless, worthless politicians who only care about their own self-interest, and their re-elections. Or, they are so simple-minded thinking they can’t let go of the failed “war on drugs” mentality. As I laid in bed this morning, I am so upset with these type individuals who like blood clots in an artery, clog up our political system with their BS, doubletalk, political rhetoric and self-interest. They can do nothing but obstruct the process, just like Washington D.C.

I think it was the big tobacco industry that came up with the idea if they can just get conversations going around multiple side issues, then they can delay the inevitable outcome. Some politicians love to cloud the issues and dazzle us with their footwork and a lot of times it works and they get away with it because the big part of the public are too busy to pay attention. The public buys into their BS and believe it without any challenge.

The medical cannabis bill is not a complicated issue. Twenty-three states have a full medical cannabis programs. Even more will come onboard this year. Four states have legalized cannabis altogether. The U.S. government has a patent on it. The U.S. government also provided it free to a handfull of individuals for 30 years. A very large number of FDA drugs become approved with just one study. Cannabis is not a drug. It is a plant. The FDA does not approve plants and that is why states legalize medical cannabis. The great majority of Iowans, 81 percent, are in favor of medical cannabis. The New Mexico study showed a 75 percent reduction in PTSD symptoms.

What most people don’t realize is most combat veterans are very isolated. We all prefer to do our shopping late at night to avoid the public. Confronting politicians at the capitol is very difficult for most of us. I have been fighting to stay alive for 45 years since coming home from Vietnam. We have lost more veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars to suicide than in combat. That is a national disgrace. How many more overdosed on OxyContin and other dangerous, addictive drugs handed out like candy by the VA.

It has become so politically popular to give lip service to the veterans, thanking us for our service, waving the flag and talking about respect. The vets always fall by the wayside, but if they had played it as safe in wartime as the politicians do, we wouldn’t be a free country.

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