Cannabis Patient Care - December 2021

Cannabis Patient Care December 2021

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18 patient focus cannabis patient care | vol. 2 no. 4 and holistic healthcare space here and outside Maryland. The other side of the coin is that we're working with a lot of the medical cannabis industry in the state with a pretty robust medical program." "We talk about cannabis as a medicine, what it can and can't do for us. We also advocate at the federal and state lev- els with other great organizations," he said. Maryland cultiva- tors and processors, as well as 68 dispensaries, are hiring vet- erans. "We are also offering free medical cannabis evaluations for veterans in Maryland and Virginia," he added. Stamper spent 23 years in the Navy, and comes from a long line of relatives serving their country. "My mother was in the Army. My father was a Vietnam veteran. My uncle was in the Navy. My grandfather was in the Navy," Stamper said. "So it was always known that I was going to go in to the military even from a young age. I realized that I could take care of my college, travel, and see the world. So those are things that re- ally intrigued me, the family heritage and just the desire to get out of the city and do new things." One of the issues facing veterans wanting to use medical can- nabis is about the prohibition of firearms. "We see a lot of vet- erans who won't become patients because they're afraid to lose their firearms, because once you become a cannabis patient, you lose your Second Amendment right (7). Subsequently, we're fight- ing at the federal and state level to get our gun rights back." He said that there are a lot of great advocacy groups for medical cannabis in the US. "I think we're in a really close knit circle," Stamper said. "We all develop a camaraderie. We're watching each other and we're giving each other advice. In fact, I helped two organizations open up their own nonprofit through the work that we were doing trying to get our doors open." He said his goal over the next five years is to go national and start expanding into other states. "We need to find more alternative ways to fund medical cannabis," Stamper said. Jose Belen and Mission Zero Actual Jose Belen, co-founder of Mission Zero Actual, and the founder of VetBasel, both organizations dedicated to combating the PTSD and suicide epidemic plaguing US veterans (8), said that his mission is to "do whatever we can to not only help veterans but find reasons for them to live again, and lift up their families in the process." Belen deployed to Iraq in 2003 during the initial Operation Ira- qi Freedom invasion and spent 14 consecutive months in com- bat. When he came home, he began experiencing the effects of PTSD as he built a successful career. "I came home as a com- plete and total machine of war," Belen said. "That's what I signed up for. That's what the country asked me to do. I watched men and women with dignity die on that battlefield. I was witness to so much. I said, 'You know what, man, I survived this war. I will do good in this life.'" He agrees with Stamper that organizations like his and others should be looking at how they can work together. "There's a word within the word 'community' and that's 'unity.' We're all within a framework of 'OK, veterans are going through this after service. How can we jointly accomplish the mission to create new oppor- tunities for employment, or philanthropy, or whatever, and sup- port one another?'" He said that organizations like his want to help eliminate the mindset that "taking our lives is the only solution, or that meds are the only solution. "There's hope out there. And that hope is within the veter- an community, and within the Gold Star Family (9) community. Eryck Stamper Jose Belen (left) and Eryck Stamper (right).

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