Texas veterans push for medical marijuana at State Capitol

Veterans for medical marijuana (KXAN Photo)
Veterans for medical marijuana (KXAN Photo)

AUSTIN (KXAN) – Texas veterans says it’s time the state legalized medical marijuana.  A group spent Friday afternoon sharing personal stories at the Vietnam Veterans Monument at the Texas Capitol.

Amanda Berard is among the group hoping to be heard. “I have PTSD from military sexual trauma,” said Berard. She was stationed in the United States when she says she was attacked.

Berard, 29, has been waiting eight months to see her doctor at the VA for continued treatment. She said it’s not the pills helping her cope, but marijuana which she got when she was in Colorado, “It lets me leave my house. With the medication the VA gives me, I don’t have the liberty.”

The group is also behind Operation Trapped. The campaign has built support for legislation which pushes for medical marijuana as a safer alternative to prescription drugs for treatment of post-traumatic stress disorder, chronic pain and traumatic brain injury.

Dr. Scott Bier, an army veteran who served in Iraq and Kuwait and who’s a Houston-area emergency room surgeon, is among the voices pushing for a medical marijuana law. “Medical cannabis is kind of a personal issue to me, because I think there is a better way and we are really not utilizing this very safe medicine for the treatment of people who really need it.”

Advocates say, in 2015, the Texas legislature passed the Compassion Use Act, which allows people with intractable epilepsy to get medical cannabis. The law doesn’t apply to veterans dealing with medical conditions. Voters nationwide legalized marijuana this election in big numbers. Several states including Florida and Arkansas passed medical marijuana measures.

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