This past Saturday, veterans from across the state gathered at the Killeen Civic and Conference Center to hear from various speakers about the state of medical cannabis in Texas.
The event which was put on by Texas Veterans for Medical Marijuana and Veterans Educating Texas (VET) Coalition, started at 10 am and wrapped up shortly before 3pm. The event started off with David Bass of TVFMMJ welcoming the attendees and doing a veteran roll call.
After Dave, Mitch Fuller of the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) took the mic to explain why the Texas VFW supports the rights of veterans to use cannabis as medicine. Mr. Fuller explained that there are veterans that are coming into his VFW post and posts across the state using delta-8 and other hemp derived products purchased at the post and seeing great results. Mitch explained that the veterans have talked about the success of adding cannabis in their routine to help with a myriad of issues and wish to see the medical program expand.
Dr. Matthew Brimberry, MD, of the Texas Cannabis Clinic spoke to the audience on how cannabis helps PTSD. Dr. Brimberry is a Navy veteran that conducted a small test study with 15 veterans. The study was to see how the medicine offered in the Texas Compassionate Use Program would help veterans manage PTSD symptoms. The study overall saw a lot of success with the downside being the veterans that need larger doses and more frequent doses having an expensive out of pocket bill for the medicine.
Shortly after 11 am Dr. Wendy Askew, MD, of Foundation for Informed Texas (FIT), gave a tutorial on Delta-8 and other hemp derivatives. The presentation was to give audience members information about where delta-8 comes from and how other hemp derivatives work for their benefit medically. Dr. Askey was followed by Lisa Bueno of VET Coalition (a member of the veterans study as well) on why she uses cannabis as medicine. And to finish up the the hour, Jax James, Executive Director of TXNORML, spoke on the 2023 legislative session goals and strategy to move cannabis laws forward in Texas.
After a break for the audience to meet with speakers and sponsors, five veterans took to the floor for a panel inquiry lead by David Bass and Lisa Bueno. Joseph Graham, Sam Dancer, April Martinez, Rudy Montes, and Jesse Williams answered questions on their military service, the reasons they are using cannabis as medicine, the amount of cannabis they are using as medicine, the methods of delivery they use, and improvements they wish to see to the Texas Compassionate Use program.
As the panel wrapped up, Representative Dr. Brad Buckley (DVM) of Texas State HD54 came to the talk about his stance on the current state of the medical program. Dr. Buckley noted that he was convinced by veterans coming to his office, talking to him about their stories of using cannabis to improve quality of life. That the veterans were using reason and logic with their stories to show him how this is an alternative that should be available like other medicines currently are in the formulary.
Buckley noted during the talk that the reason he is for the alternative is “because sometimes the cure is worse than the disease.”
Rep. Buckley did a question and answer session. Among the questions asked one that stood out was the question from former congressional candidate Julie Oliver. The question being if Buckley was in favor of full legalization of marijuana. Buckley’s answer of no drew disapproval noises from several audience members. Buckley then state the reasons why to include that a previous questions answer was for the program to be an open program as a doctor patient relationship with targeted approaches which would appear to be in conflict with a fully open to the public program.
Buckley also asked members how they could guarantee the consistency of the strength of their own home grown products. In response to a member stating certified seed banks, Buckley noted that even with the hemp program in Texas, challenges have arisen from consistency with hemp flower based on the difference in soil from one side of the county to the other. Buckley kept moving on with the Q&A noting that this is how we learn, with these types of back and forth discussions.
Shortly after Rep Buckley, former Army officer Ian Benouis, Advisor and Patient#1 of The Mission Within gave a tutorial on entheogenic medicine. Mr. Benouis also explained the recently passed Texas HB 1802 psilocybin research bill until the top of the hour.
Shortly after 2pm the remaining hour was filled with several speakers to include Julie Oliver of Ground Game Texas. Julie talked about the decriminalization effort in Killeen. The organization has put forward an initiative to have the city of Killeen place a question on the ballot for the upcoming election to see whether or not the citizens want to end arrests for cannabis possession in the city limits. Oliver was followed by Marco Gutierrez of Texas Original Compassionate Cultivation and then Terrence Baugh of Goodblend, both are the current operating dispensaries of the three licensed in the state of Texas.
The event was closed out with a thank you to everyone involved from Lisa Bueno.