Cannabis Patient Care - December 2021

Cannabis Patient Care December 2021

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30 cannabis patient care | vol. 2 no. 4 feature "As vets it's our responsibility to explain this to people who've dug in their heels," Doug says. "When we get to a con- gressman or senator we can give them that personal story, make it not so obscure." But that does not mean he and his team meet no resistance. "The hardest piece is feeling like you're being judged, that they think you're doing something that has no medical ben- efit because it's Schedule I," says Doug. "'You just want to get high'—If I hear that again, I'm going to strangle someone. I'm functional or not functional." The frustration helps drive Doug's advocacy. As much as he senses people looking at him as someone on the fringe, he knows that statistics just don't say that. He also has the suppor t of his family, more so all the time. "There is an obvious correlation between cannabis and how I'm feeling," Doug says. "I can see the benefit, and my family and everyone around can see it." Bringing the military spouses in to testify to that is the next step Doug sees in bringing comprehensive change for veter- ans who use cannabis to heal. "We shouldn't have to forgo government employment, secu- rity clearance, or a bunch of things that are just not germane," Doug says. ASA Activist Profile: Todd Scattini, Kansas City, Missouri Todd Scattini's journey to medical cannabis activism began, improbably, in Afghanistan. An Army officer, Scattini was asked in 2011 to devise a plan to create an industry for the Afghans out of the resources they had. The three main resources they had were opium, rare minerals (which China had secured the rights to), and cannabis. He decided hemp would be perfect. The plant was not just well suited to the region's environment and farming techniques but promised to dilute the prohibi- tion market in drug cannabis through cross-pollination. His proposal fell on deaf ears, but his hemp research had exposed him to information about the potential of medical cannabis, and he was hearing from veterans that it could help with everything from PTSD to chronic pain. By the time he got to his final post, Ft. Leavenworth, Kansas, he was passionate about medical cannabis and determined to apply all he'd learned in an unusual military career. After enlisting in 1990, Scattini had been sent to the mil- itary language school in Monterey, then to West Point. He emerged an officer in the tank corps, speaking Czech, Slovak, Russian and German, and became a cavalry troop command- er for the 1st Infantry Division stationed in Germany. He would go on to become a European Foreign Area Officer and defense attaché serving in six different countries, including the Czech Republic, Belgium, Bosnia, Slovenia, France and Afghanistan, where his liaison duties meant understanding not just the lo- cal language but the history, culture and politics of the place. He would finish his military service teaching strategy at the Command and General Staff College at Fort Leavenworth, just across the river from Kansas City, Missouri. "One of the f irst things I did at Ft . Leavenwor th was go to the JAG of f ice to ask if the Army would have any problem with me joining Kansas City NORML," Scattini says. "They said I just couldn't appear in uniform or use it myself." So Scattini went to work raising awareness, speaking at ever y oppor tunity and engaging with veterans in Kansas City, which is home to the headquar ters of the Veterans of For- eign Wars (VFW). "The medical proper ties of cannabis were impor tant, but the more I learned, the social justice impacts became ver y impor tant," says Scattini. "At the roots of prohibition were serious racism and greed—things that seemed incredibly un-American—and I wanted to change that. It didn't seem representative of the countr y I had signed up to defend." After 27 years of service, Scattini retired as a Lt. Colonel at midnight on December 31, 2017. "One second later, cannabis was legal in California," says Scattini, who sees many parallels Doug Distasio

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