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Nov-09-2013 14:07printcomments

Veterans Tour - Momentum Really Building on Day Three

Overall a stellar day but the finish to day 4 was a paradigm changer so stay tuned.

Veterans for Medical Cannabis

(ORLANDO) - We have received such an overwhelmingly positive response. I am writing this report at the end of day 4 because day 3 didn’t offer a spare moment.

Day three started out on Bob’s turf. Bob Jordan has a special role in this national battle for medicinal access as he is a caregiver for the only Florida - legal medical marijuana patient. Bob’s wife Cathy suffers from ALS however with the judicious application of cannabis has survived beyond all expectations. To be legal in Florida Cathy had to be arrested and then had to prove that she had no other viable medicinal options and even then that the benefit was so great as to outweigh the value of enforcing the law. We were one of the very few besides the police to have a chance to view her beautiful cannabis garden.

In the early morning light the plants were nothing short of spectacular. The cola buds with their heavy sleepy heads just started to wake up and start their morning stretch toward the sun. I have seen plants all over this beautiful world of ours but these had an inordinately large amount of sticky resin and an especially sweet smell that could only come from a plant grown in this beautiful land Ponce de Leon named Pascua Florida or "Flowery Easter". A flowery resurrection.. Fitting somehow.

Sharing a moment with the plants was good preparation for the next two days which would prove to be a transcendent experience. We rounded up our own sleepy buds and headed out to our first destination, Bay Pines. We had quite a bit of discussion as reflected in my second report revolving around the guards at Bay Pine who very recently found it necessary to shoot dead one of our Vets. Our position was to tread very lightly. This would turn out to be a good strategy.


Our troop was bummed out when upon our arrival to our chosen whistle - stop we found a notice from the local Barbecue Truck. The Sign Said: “Barbecue Truck will not be around for awhile, a death in the family” Was the family member the man who was shot? We were really, really looking forward to the barbecue truck so, more than slightly disappointed, we settled in, put up our info table and positioned our banners. The spot was excellent. We were right across the rather major thoroughfare from the hospital. We timidly called the Chief of Staff’s office.

Unlike the first day it was obvious that these facilities had now received the memo and we were triaged off to Public Relations immediately. After some gentle prodding this high ranking member of the facility’s leadership team agreed to come out and meet with me and the local Veterans who had ventured out on this nice warm day.

The Veterans who came out were wonderful. Shawn was one such Vet, a very proud Marine Corp Veteran. Shawn served honorably and dreamed of continuing his service to his country as a police officer however those dreams were cut short because of his reliance on cannabis, the only medicine he found effective to help him deal with the horrors of the Iraq war he carries around every day. Armed with a vape-pen around his neck he uses like a rescue inhaler he takes a discreet puff as he explains how the cannabis oil he fills the pen with is not burned but rather vaporized and how the innocuous vapor he inhales gives him, under the radar, relief throughout the day. Shawn never handed out a flyer before but soon he seemed to take on the challenge of handing one to every motorist that paused for the VA’s traffic light on that busy 4 lane road. I should note that it seemed like every other car honked or waved in support when they saw our various tour banners.


When the hospital spokesperson arrived we had about ten local Veterans on hand plus the representative for the statewide medical marijuana initiative and our basic crew of 4 including Army, Air Force, Marines and Coast Guard. The official was able to meet Shawn. Shawn is a good example of the kind of Veteran I want the VA officials to have the opportunity to meet. Driven out of the VA by his un-sanctioned use of cannabis he has lost touch with basic services and treatment options that might well compliment his cannabis therapy and the VA has lost access to him. It is hard to describe in words what it seemed to mean to Shawn to get a chance to talk to a suit from his hospital. He was offered an iron hand when his doctor discovered his marijuana use, there was no discussion.

After a couple of very intense and emotional hours at Bay Pines we moved on to the smaller New Port Richey clinic. There was little room to stand near the hospital where we weren’t actually on the VA grounds. We gathered in the grass out by the highway. This time, after the well expected group of interested local Veterans showed up the hospital staff came out and greeted us on their own! And, for the first time, we spoke to a leadership team medical member. He was very interested in our perspective and seemed to connect strongly when I said we will pass a medical marijuana law in Florida and at that time I hope to see Veteran’s come back to this facility and say “I left because the pills were killing me and cannabis helps without those horrible side effects however my cannabis provider told me to come back here and show you my card and see what complimentary services are available”.

Overall a stellar day but the finish to day 4 was a paradigm changer so stay tuned.

End of Day 3.. Day 4 To Follow...

www.veteransformedicalcannabis.org -- www.100kStrong.net

Previous:

Day 2 - 2013 Florida Veterans Medical Cannabis Whistle-Stop Tour

Day 1 Florida - Veterans - Cannabis - Michael Krawitz for Salem-News.com

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