SAN ANTONIO – For the past couple of years, veterans have been heading to the Texas Capitol and testifying how medical marijuana helps their ailments.
“We use cannabis for medical reasons, and we believe as veterans we’ve earned the right to use a medication that is safe and effective,” Dave Bass said.
A retired Army veteran, Bass is now veterans outreach director for the Texas Chapter of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, a medical marijuana advocating group. Since 2013, Bass has gone to the Legislature to try to get bills passed to allow veterans to get access to medical cannabis.
Bass said he used to suffer from PTSD, chronic pain, and was an alcoholic. After he started using medicinal marijuana, he eventually stopped using all medications and stopped drinking
“For us, rather than being a gateway drug, cannabis is an exit drug from dependents and addiction to pharmaceutical medications, and an exit drug from alcohol abuse,” Bass said.
Retired neuropsychologist Dr. Lang Coleman has studied the used of cannabis in veterans and said it shows positive results.
“It reduces pain, it helps you sleep, it reduces the symptoms of PTSD in a really neat way that a psychologist can use to actually cure PTSD,” Coleman said.
Veteran Shane Faulkner has a similar story to Bass, saying he takes up to nine medications a day for his PTSD and other ailments he suffered while in the military.
After getting arrested twice for possessing marijuana, Faulkner said he decided to move to Colorado so he would not face any further legal trouble.
“If I’m not on cannabis during the day, I have the tendency to be really edgy, very hyper vigilant, and paranoid, I also don’t get much sleep or eat,” Faulkner said. “So I use it for every single one of those things.”
Bass is now encouraging veterans like Faulkner to join the Operation Trap Movement, which is asking veterans to write a letter to Lieutenant Gov. Dan Patrick asking for a day to discuss medical marijuana.
Another part of the operation is sending in a pill bottle to Texas NORML with your information inside. A toy soldier will then be placed inside and all pill bottles will be on display at the capitol.
“The artwork is a soldier trapped in a pill bottle cause that’s exactly how we feel,” Bass said.
For more information about Operation Trap, click here.