The Weed for Warriors Sends An Urgent Plea To United States Attorney General, The Honorable Jeff Sessions
April 17, 2017
The Honorable Jeff Sessions
Attorney General of the United States
Department of Justice
950 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20530
RE: Veterans Need Your Help
Dear Attorney General Sessions:
I write you in a time of urgent need for America’s Military Veterans and ask for your help. What I am not writing you about is the legalization of cannabis. I write this letter regarding something we all have agreed on, conducting scientific research, specifically the ability to gather data on the affects of cannabis in Veterans suffering from PTSD.
On August 11, 2016 the DEA, “announced a policy change designed to foster research by expanding the number of DEA- registered marijuana manufacturers. This change should provide researchers with a more varied and robust supply of marijuana.”
Given the recent news regarding the quality of the cannabis being provided by NIDA to MAPS and Johns Hopkins, we write you to ask for the expedited approval of these additional “registered” cannabis “manufacturers”.
Many Americans are aware that 8,000 Veterans are committing suicide each year, twice the national average. What they might not be aware of is, Veterans are also twice as likely to die from opiods of all types. You can read about it in the following PBS article, but to the point, there were over 33,000 opiod overdoses in 2015 according to the NIH. With Veterans twice as likely to die from such overdoses, we can add over 5,000 deaths to the annual total of too early deaths by Veterans. When conservatively accounting for benzodiazepines at the same level seen by the regular US population, we see the annual death toll for veterans directly related to suicides and pharmaceuticals exceeding 15,000 per year.
While it won’t surprise you that Veterans on the frontlines of this crisis see the problem clearly, it is our opinion the catalyst for this epidemic emanates from our Country’s primary response to Veterans injuries both physical and mental, pharmaceuticals. Our view is not without scientific support.
A study published by the American Journal of Public Health by professors from three US Universities suggest that access to legalized cannabis was associated with an 11 percent reduction in the suicide rate of 20 through 29 year-old males and a 10 percent reduction in the suicide rate of 30 through 39 year-old males. In addition, another study shows deaths from opiate overdoses decreased 25% in those states with legally accessible cannabis.
If we apply the above studies results to the Veteran community, we are talking about saving the lives over 2,500 Veterans each year. Better put, that is 15,000 dead Veterans that could be alive versus dead since the FDA first approved MAPS study.
Mr. Sessions, Veterans can’t afford another six years of inaction. Veterans throughout America are overwhelmed by the national suicide and overdose epidemic that has unfolded. It is time for good people everywhere to stand up and just do the right thing. I believe you are a good person Mr. Sessions. Please stand with us and fight for the additional scientific research needed to ensure we all do our best to help those who have sacrificed so much. It is time to move forward and approve applications already submitted to the DEA for approval.
Failure to take immediate action benefits only the pharmaceutical complex’s monopoly on our care. This monopoly is responsible for the deaths of too many Veterans and too many Americans if I am allowed to be direct.
Mr. Sessions, we can no longer turn a blind eye to the issue at hand. In light of the recent news on the cannabis provided by NIDA to MAPS and Johns Hopkins for research, we look forward to your immediate action. If you are not prepared to take immediate action, we request a personal meeting with you to discuss your reasons for not doing so.
Sean T Kiernan, Veteran and
President of The Weed for Warriors Project
cc: The President of The United States, Donald J. Trump
The Honorable Chuck Rosenberg, Acting Administrator of the DEA