My husband is a veteran who, like most veterans, struggles with his mental health. He is also a recovering addict and has been clean for over 10 years. We battled with the Veterans Administration (VA) about how many pills they prescribed since he was in recovery and on methadone. One day we both got fed up and decided to find an alternative way to battle the mental and physical issues he was going through.
We researched how cannabis can help veterans improve their quality of life in a number of ways. Many veterans struggle with pain management, from past injuries or arthritis that occurred while in the service, and cannabis can help alleviate that pain. Nearly one in four (23%) veterans also struggle with PTSD1 which can cause anxiety, depression, and sleep disturbances that cannabis can help manage. While in the service they may have suffered a traumatic brain injury (TBI). Cannabis can be a neuroprotective2 and also has anti-inflammatory properties that may offer benefits in managing these conditions. Many veterans like my husband battle substance abuse & addiction, they try to self-medicate or sometimes the VA over prescribes medication. Cannabis has been studied for its potential in reducing drug cravings and withdrawal symptoms3.
The Cannabis Regulatory Agency (CRA) in Michigan has recently announced two new programs aimed at providing support to veterans by connecting them with safe and affordable cannabis options while also empowering veteran-owned businesses.
Task Force 1620
Task Force 1620 is a program established by the CRA that recognizes licensed cannabis businesses with programs dedicated to providing accessible and affordable cannabis to veterans. This initiative acknowledges the potential benefits of cannabis for veterans dealing with PTSD, anxiety, and other conditions. It aims to create a more favorable alternative to relying solely on painkillers.
Under Task Force 1620, participating retailers will offer discounted rates ranging from 75% to 100% off cannabis medicine for veterans. However, retailers will set their own parameters and regulations regarding the maximum donation or quantity given per veteran. They will also define the percentage of disability that qualifies veterans for their program, such as 70% service-connected, 100% service-connected, or even 10% service-connected. Guidelines will be provided regarding the amount of cannabis to be donated per veteran on a weekly or monthly basis, as well as the number of veterans allowed in their program.
Veteran Recognition Program
The Michigan Veteran Recognition Program aims to acknowledge and support cannabis businesses majority-owned by veterans affiliated with the US Armed Forces. Once approved under this program, these businesses will have the opportunity to collaborate with other entities and the CRA to define parameters that best serve veterans.
To participate in the Veteran Recognition Program, businesses must hold licenses under the Medical Marijuana Facility Licensing Act and the Regulatory Michigan Taxation of Marijuana Act.
Click the links to both programs above for detailed application information, read the scholarly articles below, and PLEASE remember that when you support medical cannabis patients in Michigan, you are also supporting the men and women who have put their lives on the line for this nation!
1How Common is PTSD in Veterans? by the National Center for PTSD
2Emerging Evidence for Cannabis’ Role in Opioid Use Disorder Beth Wiese (Department of Psychology, University of Missouri–St. Louis) and Adrianne R. Wilson-Poe (Department of Anesthesiology, Pain Center, Washington University School of Medicine)
3Use of Medical Cannabis to Treat Traumatic Brain Injury from the Journal of Neurotrauma. Authors: Danielle C. Hergert, Cidney Robertson-Benta, Veronik Sicard, Daniela Schwotzer, Kent Hutchison, Dan P. Covey, Davin K. Quinn, Joseph R. Sadek, Jacob McDonald, and Andrew R. Mayer
Along with her husband, Sarah Black is a licensed caregiver and co-owner of Green Empress Garden Consulting, a medical cannabis business that seeks to help others find their way in an alternative & holistic lifestyle. Connect with Sarah by email to firstname.lastname@example.org or visit Green Empress Gardens on Instagram.