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Operation Vet grow is an organization by veterans for veterans. The primary goal is to get more veterans that are dealing with mental health issues and chronic pain to turn to cannabis over pharma drugs given by the VA.
The power of cannabis as yet to be fully researched due to the state of the legality concerning it. However, many people including myself swear by it. It helps day to day life and can be consumed in many different ways.
“Weed was like the healing of everything,” Bob Luciano told Leafly. “The war happened in the sixties, we weren’t even over segregation yet, we weren’t over equal rights. We had a lot of issues that were happening, like the demonstrations with the burning of the bras. It was a lot of different influences that were in Vietnam, sharing the same gulch or bunker, and whether you like the next person or not, it unified you. It allowed you to discuss why things were changing. It stopped the war, man. Pot stopped the war.”
American soldiers were so moved by Vietnam’s potent sativa that some of them returned home with pockets full of seeds. Today’s “thank you for your service” culture didn’t exist back then. In fact, many soldiers received cold welcomes. Instead of returning to the US, Luciano took his seeds and headed for Jamaica. For five years he honed his skills as a cannabis grower, operated an organic restaurant with his wife, and developed his Mr. Natural brand of cannabis products, from dry flower to salves.
When he could, he found some escape. “During battle, we watched what [farmers] did with the soil because we just wanted an escape. You’d smoke weed, and you’d watch the monkeys play in the trees, and watch the farmers grow.”
Limiting doses, banning recommendations
Today, Luciano medicates daily for chronic pain and PTSD. He reaches out to other veterans, helping them navigate the byzantine ways of the VA so that their cannabis use doesn’t negatively impact their treatment. In the past, testing positive for THC would have automatically ended a VA patient’s ability to receive pain medication prescriptions, but that’s no longer the case.
“Because of the huge trauma they’ve gone through, it’s something unique; it’s almost like the PTSD brain is different because of what they’ve been exposed to,” explained Dr. Mandeep Singh. A psychiatrist with Apollo Applied Research and the Be Well Health Clinic in Toronto, Singh specializes in post traumatic stress. “Because of that, [the brain] actually reacts to both cannabis and traditional medications differently” from a brain that hasn’t experienced similar trauma.
Veterans in the U.S. and Canada are becoming increasingly open to trying cannabis when first-line drugs aren’t working. But their governments aren’t making it easy.
Meanwhile, in the US, the federal Department of Veterans Affairs still won’t allow VA doctors to recommend cannabis to the nation’s military veterans. Up until a few years ago, VA doctors weren’t even allowed to discuss it with their patients. That’s a hard policy to square with many veterans who’ve seen the help cannabis can offer.
The mission of the Florida Hemp Council (FLHC) is to create an ecosystem aimed at growing the Florida hemp industry as a leader in the production of hemp and hemp products. FLHC promotes sound development for the emerging hemp industry and connects its members with programs that enhance their professional growth.
Additionally, FDACS encourages veterans interested in the Florida cannabis and hemp industries to engage with the following Florida-based organizations:
The Hemp Industries Association of Florida (HIAF) is a nonprofit trade association that is dedicated to supporting farmers and the commercialization of hemp. HIAF provides education, training and a reliable network of industry partners to make Florida the national leader in the hemp industry.
As the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (FDACS) moves forward with Florida’s newly established hemp program and with improving access to medical cannabis for Floridians, Commissioner Nikki Fried believes that Florida veterans should have fair access to these medications and that veterans should be an integral part in growing the Florida cannabis and hemp industries. General Information on the Florida hemp program and medical cannabis can be found below.
The Florida Hemp Association (FHA) provides information on the state and federal regulatory framework; industry landscape; and hemp cultivation, sales and processing business opportunities in Florida. FHA is dedicated to providing interested growers, businesses and individuals with information about hemp licensing requirements, program compliance, market dynamics and new business opportunities.
The Florida Medical Cannabis Conference and Exhibition (FMCCE) is a networking and educational forum that covers the subject of medical cannabis. FMCCE brings together medical professionals, attorneys, finance representatives, operations and communications experts, entrepreneurs and consumers to collaborate on medical cannabis issues.
The Medical Marijuana Business Association of Florida (MMBAFL) works to protect and promote rational and compassionate approaches to Florida’s emerging medical marijuana regulatory framework, serve as a business resource for policymakers, grow business opportunities for the medical marijuana industry, and protect the rights of medical marijuana patients and their families.