CO: Vets Against Banning Commercial Marijuana In Pueblo County

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Banning commercial marijuana in Pueblo County would have a debilitating effect on veterans who rely on cannabis to combat the effects of traumatic brain injuries, post-traumatic stress disorder and other ailments.

This was the message stressed during a joint press conference hosted Tuesday by Growing Pueblo’s Future and Grow for Vets.

With the majestic Heroes Plaza in the background, and a handful of supporters surrounding them, veterans George Autobee, Larry Alvarado and Roger Martin, founder of Grow for Vets, decried ballot measure 200, which would ban the cultivation, product-making and sale of commercial marijuana in Pueblo County, and the consequences that would follow should it be passed.

As post-traumatic stress disorder and traumatic brain injuries are both non-qualifying conditions for obtaining a medical marijuana card in the state – not to mention the associated costs with obtaining the card – veterans have come to rely on recreational marijuana for a number of reasons, the most prominent being relief. Other benefits include the availability, quality control, safety and privacy associated with the recreational industry.

Autobee, a combat veteran, credits marijuana, “a positive medication,” with keeping him “logical and functional,” a contrast to the prescription medications he was dispensed at VA clinics, “which slowed me down and made me dysfunctional.”

Calling the use of marijuana a health right, Autobee went a step further, declaring that marijuana should be shipped to veterans at no charge, “just like they get their aspirins and their other medications, ’cause we paid in blood for the price, and we should have the honor of being respected for that.”

Martin also disparaged prescription medications, “the deadly drug cocktails the VA shoves down the throats of our veterans.”

Over the years, thousands of veterans have confided to Martin that “cannabis is the only thing that’s ever helped them with PTSD. Not one drug the VA has given them has ever helped at all.”

Cannabis, Martin continued, has allowed countless veterans to “get off of the opiates they’re taking, a lot of the psych drugs. Many of the veterans who have come to us have taken 20 to 25 prescription medications every single day.

“And that’s just absolutely outrageous.”

Walsenburg resident Alvarado, who introduced himself as the veterans advocate for the Southern Colorado Growers Association, said he’s “totally, totally opposed to what’s going on here in Pueblo County, and I would ask all veterans to vote no on this 200.”

Noting that he moved to the more cannabis-friendly town of Walsenburg, Alvarado said the substance “works for me and I have a lot of veteran friends who also smoke pot and it works for them.”

Alvarado also took jabs at those pushing ballot measure 200, “people who are talking about, ‘This is gonna bring in heroin,’ this, this and that.

“No. I’ve smoked pot for 50 years, every day. It helps with my PTSD, it gives me an appetite, it calms me down.”

And for Martin, it’s done even more.

“I started with Oxycontin in 2010, taking 180 milligrams a day and 40 milligrams of Ambien to be able to sleep one to two hours at night.

“So I can stand here and tell you, without any doubt whatsoever, the reason I’m standing here is because cannabis saved my life.”

News Moderator: Katelyn Baker
Full Article: Vets Against Banning Commercial Marijuana In Pueblo County
Author: Jon Pompia
Contact: (719) 544-3520
Photo Credit: iStock
Website: The Pueblo Chieftain