Today is Veterans Day—a powerful, annual observation of those who are serving, or have served, in any branch of the United States Armed Forces. Originally named “Armistice Day” to note the first anniversary of the end of World War I, it wasn’t until 1954 that President Dwight D. Eisenhower changed the name of the holiday to “Veterans Day.”
Our country has spent over 65 years annually recognizing those who have served their country, as well as those who have fallen during the line of duty—but it’s no secret that countless veterans have returned home with medical conditions they struggle to treat. Tragically, many die by suicide after they return home.
In the cannabis industry, the topic of veterans hits especially close to home. Cannabis has been found to be a powerful treatment for certain medical conditions that are common in the veteran community, such as post-traumatic stress disorder, anxiety, chronic pain and many more. This Veterans Day, cannabis businesses are striving to come together to offer support for veterans across the country. Now more than ever, veterans need our support, and here’s a few ways consumers show their support.
Specialty Products that Give Back to Vets
Platinum Vapes frequently contributes to a variety of causes every month, such as breast cancer awareness, animal rescue and suicide prevention, through limited-edition vape cartridges called REACT. These special-edition products each have their own dedicated packaging. A portion of the proceeds from the REACT “Veterans Support” cartridge will be donated to Project Sanctuary and Battle Brothers Foundation.
Project Sanctuary helps service members reconnect with their families “in a healthy and sustainable manner,” while Battle Brothers Foundation assists veterans re-enter civilian life through their jobs as well as necessary, non-opioid medical treatments.
Terrapin Care Station, along with its internal resource group called the Terrapin Veterans Network, is hosting a few events across the country. This includes dinner and drinks for veterans and their families in Pennsylvania on November 11, as well as a Veterans Day cleanup event in Grand Rapids, Michigan.
Director of construction at Terrapin and a member of Terrapin Veterans Network, Kevin Krieger, expressed the need to continue to supporting veterans. “An estimated 200,000 veterans are expected to leave active-duty service and re-enter civilian life this year, but entirely too many former members of our nation’s military struggle to find employment or are forced to accept underemployment,” said Krieger.
“For years, Terrapin has supported veterans and their families—both as employees and within the community at large. I am proud to be a member of Terrapin Veterans Network, working for an incredible company alongside many others adjusting to life after service in the military.” Terrapin also strives to ensure that 30 percent of its employees are veterans.
Likewise, PAX Labs is releasing a limited-editionVeterans Releaf Era Pod in California, Oregon, Massachusetts, Missouri and Washington. A portion of proceeds will be donated toward Weed for Warriors, in addition to a $20,000 donation that PAX is giving the organization as well. PAX Chief Operating Officer Steven Jung is a former U.S. Army Captain and fully understands the necessity of supporting fellow veterans like himself.
“As a veteran myself, I know how urgent it is for us to advance veterans’ access to cannabis—both as a basic right and as a medical alternative,” said Jung. “This Veterans and Remembrance Day, we’re thrilled to be launching Veterans Releaf pods with partners across the U.S. benefitting Weed for Warriors and donating a portion of our device sales in Canada to Wounded Warriors—two leading voices advocating for veterans’ health and rehabilitation.”
If you find yourself at Torrey Holistics in San Diego, California today, you’ll find a special pop-up dedicated to veterans. The dispensary has partnered with Helmand Valley Growers Company (HVGC) and El Blunto, which created limited-edition lighters that feature the Battle Brothers Foundation name on them, as well as an Apple Pie pre-roll that will be available for purchase. One dollar for each unit sold will be donated to the Battle Brothers Foundation, and HVGC will be giving merchandise to veterans.
Support for Veterans Beyond Veteran’s Day
Some companies take a different approach to support, such as Green Thumb Industries, which has partnered with a health company named Happy to offer veterans solutions to their mental health. Between November 1 through December 31, the two companies are offering veterans and their families “free and unlimited” mental health support. The Director of Veteran Programming at Happy, Joshua Thiel, wants to change the stigma of mental health, one veteran at a time.
“The military is committed to reducing stigmas with mental resilience care, but cultural change takes time and resources are in high demand,” he said in a press release. “Military members often believe that support equals weakness, and that no one cares or understands them—we at Happy disagree. Happy is expanding our support network to help turn Veteran trauma into wisdom that helps Veterans excel, and, ultimately, maximize happiness.”
In Flint, Michigan, the veteran-owned Light’N Up Cannabis Company announced that on November 20-21 it would be partnering with The Hero Project USA to provide 1,000 turkeys in a giveaway, in exchange for registering for the Light’N Up Cannabis Company’s Best Buds Customer Rewards program. Twenty-five vendors will be present at the event, and a portion of proceeds will be given to the vendor’s veteran charity of choice, which is organized through the Canna Social Equity Foundation.
Cannabis industry support isn’t limited to the United States, either. In Nova Scotia, Canada, Aqualitas Inc. has partnered with Veterans For Healing Ltd. To create a personal service for veterans. This includes efforts to “educate, assist and onboard veterans” across the country, but also working closely with the veteran community to create cannabis products geared directly at treating their ailments.
“Over the years, the veteran community has made it clear that they need and deserve a reliable supply of consistent quality medical cannabis and a supportive client care team,” said CEO of Veterans For Healing, Rob Gowans. “Our collaboration with Aqualitas is a powerful way to deliver this medicine to veterans, and to work as part of a team with a truly patient-centred licensed producer to further assist veterans on their healing journey.”
This is just a mere glimpse into some of the events and promotions that the cannabis industry is organizing not only to support veterans, but to also create awareness for their needs and how medical cannabis can help. Of course, a simple donation to veteran cannabis organizations such as the Battle Brothers Foundation, Weed for Warriors, Veterans Cannabis Project and so many more.
These organizations work not only to help veterans individually but also support and fight for legislation that will continue to assist veterans well into the future. Unfortunately, the United States Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has not been a strong supporter of medical cannabis as long as it’s federally illegal, since it recently rejected cannabis research efforts.
Representative Lou Correa, who introduced the bill earlier this year, criticized the VA’s denial. “The VA keeps saying, ‘We have the authority; we don’t need you to micromanage us.’ But we do—because they’re not doing their job,” Correa said, according to Politico.