Many military veterans are barred from accessing medical cannabis since it's still illegal at the federal level. And while there are some promising studies and many personal anecdotes on the positive effects of cannabis on PTSD and other physical and mental health symptoms, in many places, cannabis is still enveloped in negativity, which means that veterans with no safe or legal access to the plant can face criminal charges for attempting to improve their health.
To counter the deep-rooted stigma still surrounding the use of medical cannabis, many organizations led by veterans are advocating for cannabis reform that supports open access to cannabis for veterans and for all.
Here are six cannabis brands and organizations you can support righty now.
Veterans for Holistic Alternatives (VAHA)
Founded by veteran Gary Hess, Veterans Alliance for Holistic Alternatives is an organization advocating for open access to medical cannabis for veterans. Through educational outreach, volunteer support, and policy reform, VAHA aims to empower veterans and provide resources for accessing medical cannabis.
You can donate here to show your support.
Minority- and veteran-owned MOTA Glass in Los Angeles is a cannabis retail brand creating borosilicate glass pipes, bongs, and accessories. Launched in November 2020, MOTA Glass makes an effort to hire veterans and also provides a permanent 25% military discount sitewide.
Weed for Warriors Project (WFWP)
The Weed for Warriors Project is a social justice organization urging change on the federal level. It advocates for the use of compassionate alternative care for veterans. Volunteers with the Weed for Warriors Project are dedicated to educating lawmakers and providing support to veterans seeking legal access to cannabis.
Get involved here to support the WFWP.
Veterans Cannabis Coalition (VCC)
Through research, reform, and restoration, the Veterans Cannabis Coalition, founded by veteran Eric Goepel, aims to end the negative stigma surrounding cannabis. Advocacy, education, and policy initiatives are all part of the organization's efforts to get veterans full and legal access to medicinal cannabis nationwide.
The VCC also oversees the Veterans Compassion Network, which asks for and provides cannabis donations to veterans living in California.
Santa Cruz Veterans Alliance (SCVA)
The Santa Cruz Veterans Alliance is a team of California-based military veterans advocating for full cannabis access. They grow their own cannabis for their fellow veterans. Through the company's Veteran Compassion Program, SCVA provides free lab-tested cannabis to more than 100 veterans every month. It also teaches veterans about cannabis cultivation through horticulture therapy sessions.
Any veteran with proof of veteran status (DD214 or VA Card) and a valid doctor's recommendation for medical cannabis can receive a donation of medical cannabis products at the SCVA dispensary in Soquel, California.
Find Santa Cruz Veterans Alliance
With dispensaries in Haverhill and Amesbury, Massachusetts, veteran-owned CNA Stores supports East Coast veterans through donations to the Veterans Northeast Outreach Center (VNEOC). The organization provides continuous care for veterans and their families by addressing veteran housing needs, community support services, and mental health support.
Donate here to support the VNEOC.