Veterans Day cannabis press conference to be held at Texas capitol
Texas military veterans and marijuana policy reform advocates will gather in front of the Vietnam Veterans Monument at the Texas State Capitol at 1 p.m. CDT on Friday, Nov. 11 on Veterans Day to host a press conference to bring attention to efforts by veterans to gain legal access to medical marijuana.
Speakers at the event will include David Bass of Killeen, a U.S. Army veteran who served in Operation Desert Storm and Operation Iraqi Freedom II; Dr. Lang Coleman, a retired Army officer, Desert Storm veteran, and psychologist; Dr. Scott Bier, an army veteran who served in Iraq and Kuwait and is a Houston-area emergency room surgeon; and Romana Monroe Harding, a 100% disabled Navy veteran.
In 2015, the Texas legislature passed the Compassion Use Act, which allows patients with intractable epilepsy to access medical cannabis. However, this law does not cover many of the conditions afflicting veterans and other Texans who would be protected under effective medical cannabis laws found in other states.
Operation Trapped, backed by Texans for Responsible Marijuana Policy, is a yearlong veteran-based campaign that has built support for legislation allowing access to medical marijuana — a safer alternative to prescription drugs — for treatment of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), traumatic brain injury (TBI), chronic pain, and other service-related conditions.
“We owe Veterans the opportunity to pursue viable treatment options to relieve their suffering and the evidence supports medical marijuana’s effectiveness in treating many conditions,” said Dr. Lang Coleman.
“Allowing patients access to medical cannabis is the right thing to do, morally and ethically,” states Dr. Scott Bier. “While I was lucky to make it back from deployment whole, I have friends and even family who were not as fortunate. Cannabis has been shown in study after to study to help treat many of the symptoms that ail our veterans and it is about time to allow the medical community, rather than bureaucrats, decide what medicines are appropriate for use.”
“If not for medical cannabis recommended to me by my World War II veteran uncle for my PTSD, I would not be here,” said Romana Monroe Harding. “He told me he used it as an exit drug from alcohol and painkillers. I have tried different psychiatric drugs for my PTSD, but they have terrible side effects. Medical cannabis gave me my life back.”
“In Texas we are proud to support our service men and women. Veterans who have returned home with service related injuries like PTSD and chronic pain should have the freedom to access medical cannabis if their doctors think it will help them,” said Heather Fazio, spokesperson for Texans for Responsible Marijuana Policy. “This is not a partisan issue. This is a matter of compassion and restoring the integrity of the doctor/patient relationship.”
The monument is located on the northeast side of the Capitol grounds near the corner of 14th Street and Brazos Street.