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Veterans should never be jailed for using medical marijuana

By Hempology | December 13, 2007

Kalamazoo Gazette, MI
10 Dec 2007
John Ephland


Everyone knows war results in the death and destruction of human life.  Any veteran can tell you it’s not like in the movies.  And for those injured vets who live to tell about it, any and all effective, appropriate means for medical care are welcome.

The only problem is, certain proven procedures have been “off the table” for non-medical reasons.  One of America’s leading organizations promoting innovative approaches to such care is Veterans for Medical Marijuana Access.  Incorporated in 2007, VMMA can claim sole ownership to the title of being this country’s only advocate for veterans’ rights to access medical marijuana for therapeutic purposes.

Thus far, VMMA has been busy in a number of areas.  As Executive Director Martin Chilcutt points out, “The VMMA is serious about minimizing whatever potential harm comes from using marijuana.  I’ve talked to a good number of vets from around the country at conventions, on the phone and at veterans hospitals, and they tell me there’s a real concern about conviction and going to jail.  That’s why we take this issue so seriously.” 

Because of this concern, VMMA works with all legislative bodies, both locally and nationally, to endorse the responsible, therapeutic use of medical marijuana.  Implied in this effort is the legislative push to end all prohibitions associated with the use of medical marijuana.

Chilcutt, who is a veteran and has a service-connected disability, adds that another primary focus of the organization is helping to preserve the long-established, doctor-patient relationship.  “Privacy rights are a big issue when it comes to medical marijuana,” says Chilcutt, a licensed psychotherapist.  “Vets need to know it’s safe to openly discuss this topic within the Veterans Administration health-care system.”

A related concern for VMMA, according to Chilcutt, is a present-day political reality about making medical marijuana available to veterans.  He notes, “The current administration in Washington is blocking medical research on medical marijuana.  There are many research centers that want to do it, but the Drug Enforcement Administration will not let them.  It’s political garbage, because a lot of research has been done in other countries showing how much it helps various conditions.”

Showing his passion for the cause, Chilcutt lambasts what he sees as political cowardice on the part of government leaders.  And all at the expense of those injured men and woman who have been willing to pay the ultimate price for their country.  “The Bush/Cheney administration is betraying us,” he concludes.  “The veterans they say they support, many of them need and use medical marijuana.  The lack of action from the top speaks louder than their words of support for the troops.”

For more information on VMMA, go to

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