Tag Archives: PTSD

Tenn. GOP State Rep. to Draft Bill Decriminalizing Pot Possession Among Vets with PTSD

Tennessee State Representative Jeremy Faison (R-Cosby) said last week that he is drafting a bill that would decriminalize marijuana possession by military veterans in the state who have been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder.

Rep. Faison told the Knoxville News-Sentinel, “Pills have side effects. … The No. 1 side effect is suicide. Twenty-eight veterans a day in America are committing suicide.

Aside from a bill legalizing low-THC cannabis oil that Gov. Haslam signed in May of this year, marijuana legalization and decriminalization advocates in the state have struggled to gain support for their initiatives.

[RELATED: Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam Signs Cannabis Oil Legalization Bill into Law]

Faison, who claims to have never tried an intoxicant and whose sister was killed by an inebriated driver, says it takes “a special kind of stupid” to fail to recognize the medical benefits of marijuana in the case of war veterans who suffer from PTSD.

He said that his wife, who holds a master’s degree in nutrition, often says, “For most ailments man has, God has a remedy,” and added that he believes that marijuana can sometimes be used as a natural alternative to pharmaceutical drugs for certain ailments.

Faison’s bill will only decriminalize pot possession by veterans dealing with PTSD. Critics, such as Rep. Sherry Jones (D-Nashville), who relayed an anecdote about a police officer who is wheelchair-bound by seizures, say that the effort is unfair because it does not allow non-veterans with PTSD and other ailments to seek treatment. However, Rep. Jones said that she would be willing to support Faison’s bill as an incremental step to allow a “little piece of the population” to obtain medical marijuana.

In September of last year, Ben Swann released a Truth in Media episode exposing the federal government’s mixed messages on medical marijuana. Watch it in the below-embedded video player.


Phoenix Support Camp for Homeless Veterans Faces Eviction

A group of volunteers calling themselves the Camp Alpha Project have been camped around Phoenix, Arizona for the last six weeks. The group says its goal is to “help homeless Veterans and Civilians in Phoenix by utilizing available resources.”

Fox 10 reported last month that Camp Alpha “started in October and keeps growing as it reaches out to get the vets off the streets one step at a time,” and that “the community and other veteran organizations have stepped up and dropped off tents, food, clothing, and supplies.”

Following complaints from neighbors, the city of Phoenix investigated the encampment and is pursuing a solution to relocate the camp. The Phoenix Neighborhood Services Department met with the organizers of Camp Alpha and has told the organizers they cannot stay at their current location.

“Those are complaints. That’s the challenge we’re up against. People in the neighborhood don’t know what we’re all about,” Camp Alpha’s Eric Smaltz told Fox10 in Phoenix. “They just see the encampment growing and wonder what’s going on and they apply a negative connotation to homeless people and encampments.”

12 News in Phoenix reported that city leaders say the “tent city” is violating city code. Aaron Pomrenke, who founded the camp back in October, told 12 News that the city had not communicated anything about a violation. Pomrenke previously told 12 News he started Camp Alpha as a way to give homeless veterans a safe place to sleep while also connecting them with much-needed services.

Moises Gallegos with Phoenix’s Human Services Department told Fox that the city cannot allow the camp to exist because “there are rules that say it’s not okay, it’s not legal. There are many others that would say if we’re going to let this be, why can’t we have tents and camps on every vacant lot, corner, anyplace people would want to do that.”

The city also told 12 News they support Camp Alpha’s goals “but it is an obvious code violation to set up a tent encampment in a vacant lot.” The city says they do not have a building for Camp Alpha but hopes they can “develop a plan for a solution.”

Interestingly enough, in early 2014 Phoenix was declared the first city to “end chronic homelessness among military veterans.” At the time, Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton spoke with USA Today and said “the city went from 220 vets on the streets a couple of years ago to virtually none today.”

Despite Phoenix’s declaration of eliminating homelessness among veterans, there remains a multitude of veterans in need of support. Camp Alpha serves as a reminder of the unfortunate reality that the men and women who fight in the United States military often return home battling a number of ailments and are faced with failed bureaucracy and apathy.

New Study Finds Children of Returning Vets Face Higher Risk of Abuse

According to a new study published on Friday, the babies and toddlers of soldiers returning from deployment are at higher risk of abuse for the first six months after the parent returns home. That risk increases with more frequent deployment of the parents.

USA Today reported the study was conducted by the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia and published in the American Journal of Public Health. The researchers examined the families of more than 112,000 soldiers who had children 2 years old or younger between 2001 and 2007, during the height of the Iraq War. The team looked at reports of abuse by a soldier or a caregiver which had been confirmed by the Department of Defense, as well as medical diagnoses from the military.

Of the 4,367 victims from the families of 3,635 soldiers, the researchers found that abuse and neglect doubled during the second deployment when compared with the first. The study also found that when soldiers deployed twice the rate of abuse and neglect was the highest and usually came from a caregiver other than the soldier.

David Rubin, co-director of the hospital’s PolicyLab and the report’s senior author, told USA Today the study was the first to “reveal an increased risk when soldiers with young children return home from deployment.” Rubin said the study shows the “potentially devastating consequences for some military families.”

Veterans returning home from war have long been the victim of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) as a consequence of the horrors of war. In the past few years, the American public has become all too aware of the trauma inflicted upon men and women who believe they are fighting for freedom. While the government’s own statistics state that 22 veterans commit suicide everyday, the reality is the number is closer to 30.

Earlier this year a study published in the Annals of Epidemiology examined all 1,282,074 veterans who served in active-duty units between 2001 and 2007. The L.A. Times reported:

“The analysis matched military records with the National Death Index, which collects data on every U.S. death. It tracked the veterans after service until the end of the 2009, finding a total of 1,868 suicides.

That equates to an annual suicide rate of 29.5 per 100,000 veterans, or roughly 50% higher than the rate among other civilians with similar demographic characteristics.”

Both of these studies highlight an unfortunate side of war that is becoming increasingly difficult for Americans to ignore. Not only are the endless wars of aggression causing blowback leading to a rise in anti-American sentiment, but the actions of the U.S. government are hurting our own people who believe they are fighting for something just and moral.

Twenty22Many Campaign Promotes Cannabis As Treatment For PTSD Veterans In Washington

When Patrick Seifert learned the number of American veterans that commit suicide daily, he knew he had to do something.

The numbers are staggering: “Twenty-two American veterans will kill themselves today. They did it yesterday, and they’re going to do it tomorrow, and they’re going to keep doing it,” explained Seifert.

So Seifert established Twenty22Many, an organization that advocates medical marijuana and holistic therapy for veterans suffering from PTSD.

Beginning July 24, PTSD sufferers in Washington will be able to receive medical marijuana. On July 22, Seifert and company will be hosting a march to raise awareness of medical marijuana for the treatment of PTSD.

“We’re not claiming to heal anything, but it helps for us, it helps for our veterans. We know the other way is not working,” said Seifert of this alternative to pharmaceuticals.

And that accomplishment in Washington is something to celebrate, he said. Not all states recognize PTSD as a marijuana-treatable condition.

“Colorado just voted it down. They have a lot of work cut out for them. I feel sorry for the veterans in Colorado,” he added.

Events on July 22, 2015 will include a march from noon to 1 p.m. from the Capitol in Olympia, Washington to a nearby park. In the park, veterans will be giving testimony about how medical marijuana has helped them.

From there, the event includes a free screening of “Star Leaf,” a locally made feature film, a free barbecue dinner and a series of talks from marijuana advocates and professionals at the Urban Onion Ballroom located across from Sylvester Park at 116 Legion Way in Olympia.

For more information on the event, contact Twenty22Many’s Patrick Seifert at (360) 545-7849 or at Twenty22Many@gmail.com. Click here to listen to Truth in Media’s Joshua Cook’s full interview with Seifert.

Colorado Nonprofit Gives Free Cannabis to Veterans

During the rush to war, politicians often offer platitudes about supporting the troops, but, when veterans return home to civilian society, their needs are typically and tragically ignored. Many modern American soldiers serve through multiple tours of duty and subsequently come home suffering from conditions like depression and post-traumatic stress disorder. Suicide rates among young veterans have been climbing at an alarming pace, demonstrating the mental health epidemic that faces many soldiers returning from the battlefield.

The Gazette recently reported on a Colorado nonprofit group, launched by Army veteran Roger Martin, called Operation Grow4Vets. The organization, which seeks to help veterans acquire medical marijuana to help with the conditions they suffered during military service, hosted two events recently at which free medical cannabis products were given to those who served their country. ABC 7 News Denver provided video coverage, seen in the above-embedded player, of the first of the medical marijuana giveaways, which took place in Denver at a Quality Inn on September 20. The second event took place on September 27 at a hotel in Colorado Springs.

According to CBS News, hundreds of people showed up for the Denver giveaway, and The Gazette estimated that 1,000 people gathered at the Colorado Springs event. Those who attended were given a gift bag including edible cannabis, cannabis oil, and seeds to grow their own medical marijuana. ABC 7 News Denver described the quantity given out as a “week’s supply.”

Only adults 21 and over were allowed at the event, and non-veterans were invited but encouraged to provide a $20 donation. At the Denver giveaway, organizers also announced the launch of the Save 1,000 Vets Project, an initiative aimed at preventing veteran suicides.

“So many veterans have told me that cannabis is absolutely the only thing that helps them cope with PTSD,” Operation Grow4Vets founder Roger Martin told ABC 7 News Denver. Martin discovered firsthand the medical benefits of edible cannabis when he opted to try it in an effort to wean himself off of prescription drugs. Now, he wants other veterans to experience the relief that he found through cannabis. He told The Gazette, “It isn’t going to hurt them as much as the prescription drugs.”

OperationGrow4Vets plans to have more cannabis giveaways in the future. In Colorado, adults 21 and over are legally allowed to purchase and receive marijuana and related products.

Ben Swann recently launched a brand-new Truth in Media episode in which he exposes the truth about medical marijuana and cannabis oil. Watch his expose in the video player found below.

VIDEO: U.S. Military Veteran’s Violent Arrest Triggers PTSD, DOJ Refuses to Allow Her Case to Be Resolved in Veterans Treatment Court

Philadelphia, April 28, 2014- A U.S military combat veteran, Emily Yates, was attending a ‘No war with Syria’ rally in Philadelphia when she was violently arrested by Federal Parks Services rangers for simply asking why she was being told to move.

It was a hot summer day, so Yates along with many others had stood under some trees to get a reprieve from the heat. It was at this point that she was approached by the Federal Parks rangers and told that she needed to move as they began to erect barricades around her.  As you can clearly see in the video Yates simply asks why she needs to move, not understanding the reason for being told to move.

As she continued to inquire as to why she needed to move, the rangers told her it was classified and that she simply had to move because they said so. This was the point at which the Parks Services rangers became very authoritative demanding she leave the area. Yates continues to inquire as to why she is being told she must leave the area not understanding why she was being forced to vacate the vicinity.

It was at this point where the Federal Parks rangers, without explanation and unexpectedly, began to violently arrest Yates. She had her back turned to Parks Services rangers, when they grabbed her wrists, bent her over a park bench, picked her up by her arms and legs and dragged her away to a separate area away from the crowd, dropping her on the ground face first.

In an interview with BenSwann.com, Yates states, “As military we are told we are fighting for freedom, civil liberties, and the Constitution, but we come home and are beaten black and blue and thrown in jail for exercising these rights.”

This violent episode triggered her PTSD from traumas that she had experienced in her active combat duty while serving in the military. She was taken to the Philly Federal Detention Center, where she was held for 3 days without being allowed a phone call, was never told what she was arrested for and never read her rights. In addition, she was refused access to the prison psychologist for 2 ½ days.

She was subsequently charged with arbitrary trespass, resisting arrest and assaulting an officer. Her attorney explained to the prosecutor that Yates was now suffering from PTSD, brought on by her experience as a combat veteran and the emotional trauma suffered from being forcefully grabbed from behind and the ensuing actions of the rangers.

He requested that she have her case be resolved in a Veterans Treatment Court so that here experience as a combat veteran would be taken into consideration in regards to her reaction to being forcefully assaulted from behind. The prosecutor has refused this request.

This is troubling due to the fact that the prosecutors own boss, Attorney General Eric Holder, has personally championed and extolled the virtues of the Veterans Treatment Courts:

“Since its inception just over two years ago, this Veterans Treatment Court has shown tremendous promise in helping eligible men and women to break the destructive cycle of criminality and incarceration that traps too many people and weakens too many communities across America… For President Obama – and for me – strengthening programs like this one, and building on work that’s underway in similar diversion and reentry programs throughout the nation, has always been a top priority.”

So why is AG Holder’s Justice Department disregarding his public support for combat veterans who have risked their lives in service to the United States? The DOJ encourages Veterans Treatment Courts as a rehabilitation model for PTSD and military trauma related cases against veterans and yet they refuse to allow Yates to participate. If AG Holder truly wants to support the veterans, he should insist that Yates case be allowed to be resolved in a Veterans Treatment Court.

If you want to support Emily Yates’ case being resolved in a Veterans Treatment Court, sign and share this petition.


Follow Jay on Facebook and on Twitter @SirMetropolis