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Guest view: Veteran speaks out in favor of marijuana legalization

Guest view: Veteran speaks out in favor of marijuana legalization

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I’m a combat Veteran and I am voting yes on CI-118 and I-190 because together they will increase veteran access to medical marijuana, bring $50 million a year in much needed tax revenue for the state, and end a failed prohibition that harms our vets and fellow citizens.

Recently I saw a news report of a Vietnam Veteran who was in jail in Alabama for life for being in possession of licensed medical marijuana in a state that had no medical marijuana program or verified medical marijuana reciprocity. I researched and found out that Montana has no medical marijuana reciprocity either, not even for combat vets.

If a vet visiting Montana gets caught with his medical marijuana, (even licensed medical marijuana from another state) then he can go to jail in Montana. Depending on the amount it could be a felony that could ruin someone’s entire life! Over something less harmful than alcohol? That’s unjust and disrespectful of the sacrifices veterans make.

Making sure vets who visit Montana don’t get in trouble for their medical cannabis is a great start, but there are other reasons I am supporting CI-118 and I-190 to legalize, regulate and tax marijuana for those 21 and over. As a Combat Veteran of the Iraq war suffering from war injuries, I use marijuana to manage the effects of severe PTSD.

Many of the brothers and sisters I served with choose not to get a medical marijuana card. Some say it’s because they don’t want to be on a list, others say its because they are afraid it might impact their gun rights, still others are worried that if their VA doctors find out they are using marijuana therapeutically they will label them a drug seeker and stop their medical treatments and medicines. That’s why we need to pass CI-118 and I-190 to increase vet access.

Under the current law in place, Veterans must pay out of pocket and see a private doctor outside of the VA system. Then the Veteran must seek out and pay the State of Montana for permission to treat those wounds with a plant that can be grown in their garden or home. To the voters I ask you, is that fair to require that of those who have sacrificed so much for us?

Does it serve veterans that even though our Federal Government has a Federal Medical Marijuana program the VA will not grant access to our Veterans forcing them to choose between dangerous prescription drugs or pay out of pocket to treat themselves with medical marijuana.

By voting YES for CI-118 & I-190 you will allow Veterans to be able to purchase marijuana without asking permission, and they could even cultivate four marijuana plants at home for themselves if they choose. Vets will no longer have to pay money or be on any list, and they can be left in peace after already paying so much for our country with their blood, sweat, and tears. Please Vote YES for CI-118 & I-190 for the Veteran in your life.

Clinton Decker, an Iraq War veteran, lives in Missoula.

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