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PTSD: The Battle Weary and Our Fight to End Veteran Suicide Through Safe Access

How Patrick has been fighting for safe and reliable access to cannabis for all veterans.

Previouly published in SKUNK Magazine‘s May 2017 issue.

I FIRST MET PATRICK back in 2012 and became familiar with his Medical Cannabis Dispensary “Rainier Xpress” in the years to follow.

Patrick is a former U.S. Marine that served his country proudly and with distinction. During Patrick’s 4 year tour he served proudly and distinctively as a 0311, Scout Swimmer, Rappel Master, J.E.S.T. (Jungle Environment Survival Training) and Marine Corp Security Forces. Patrick is diagnosed with PTSD. Patrick’s PTSD was not born on the battlefield like so many other combat Veterans.  Patrick’s PTSD was born during his childhood where he was raped and sexually abused as a child. Patrick took his Marine Corp work ethic directly with him into the Medical Cannabis industry and started what would become one of the most successful Medical Cannabis Dispensaries in the country. Unknowingly, Patrick found himself at ground zero for the vulnerable and critically ill, as well as the emotionally and psychologically broken in our communities. It was during this time period when Patrick would read an article that would change is life course forever. Patrick read, for the first time, that 22 Veterans were committing suicide every single day. Twenty-two men and woman committing suicide daily, all with two things in common. They all served this country and they all depend on the VA for their healing. He took action almost immediately and started having weekly meetings and fellowship with any Veteran or Veteran’s spouse that wantedto attend. Patrick put in place and offered every single Veteran 1 FREE oz of Cannabis a Month (1 FREE gram per day) without exception.

It was through these actions that Twenty22Many-Olympia was born. Hope was spreading among the weary ranks of our returning soldiers and the thousands of Veterans that got their medicine from Rainier Xpress and not the VA.

Patrick soon got word that Washington State did not have PTSD on the list of qualifying conditions for Medical Cannabis use. Operation PTSD was born. Patrick went to Sen. Kohl-Wells (top medical Cannabis champion) and requested her assistance in getting PTSD added to the list of qualifying conditions. With help from Adam Cooper, Mike Krawitz and Kari Boiter we soon received a stand alone PTSD Bill. The second Patrick received that Bill he and Adam Cooper walked it down to the floor of the Capitol and asked to have Sen. Hobbs come off the floor so we could present him with the opportunity to champion our PTSD Bill. Without hesitation Sen. Hobbs (Military Veteran) received our Bill and within 48 hours stated he would lead the charge getting this Bill passed. To say he championed the Bill is an understatement. Their PTSD Bill came out of the Senate without a single no vote and was ultimately passed by the house with TBI (Traumatic Brain Injury) to boot. So within the first 6 months of what would someday become Twenty22Many Patrick and his Veterans changed law and are assisting in the suicide rate dropping in Washington State.  Just like every other Medical Cannabis State suicide rates are dropping.

Patrick also was able to administer his own unofficial Medical Cannabis Study through Rainier Xpress. Knowing he had access to the best medical cannabis (CBD & THC) in the world and countless Veterans with PTSD he again got to work attempting to prove what he and thousands of Veterans already know. That Cannabis is a safe and reliable alternative to the deadly pharmaceutical cocktails being given out by the VA. “Some of the Veterans that came into Rainier Xpress were on 17 different types of Pharmaceuticals” Patrick witnessed for himself a Veterans Prescription Bottle with a warning that stating suicide or suicidal thoughts were a side effect. How is it possible you are going to give a human being a prescription with said waning and 16 other pills. Now the 22 daily suicides were starting to make sense to Patrick. The only thing legal to a Veteran coming out of the military in a state with no Medical Cannabis Programs or laws is Pills (the most addicting in the world) and Alcohol. The PTSD Vape project was an absolute necessity. Veterans with PTSD needed something new, they needed a security blanket from PTSD episodes. Patrick, who had access to the top CBD and THC flowers  in the market went to his growers and oil producers and got everything he needed to make the PTSD Vape pen a reality. During our trials Patrick called the Vape pens, the PTSPen’s. After nearly two years of trials with hundreds of Veterans and other victims of PTSD we got up to PTSPen #5. Saint Patrick again did what he does and never charged a penny for a Vape Pen given out for this study. All Patrick ever asked in return from a pen kit with two grams of oil and a battery with charger was a dairy or log book. Patrick simply wanted to help Veterans and collect data about how better to administer cannabis to a victims of PTSD. Patrick believes that after the two year study and going through all the data he collected he is ready to bring this life changing tool to the Retail Cannabis Market to someday be available to every PTSD victim in the United States and ultimately the world. Imagine an EPI like pen for PTSD out breaks.

Now that Twenty22Many has their feet firmly on the ground, they continue to fight for safe and reliable access to cannabis for all veterans. Along with a long list of Veteran programs Twenty22Many has had an Emergency Hotline for nearly 2 years, available for any Veteran in the world to access.

 

Currently Twenty22Many  provides many services and resources for our Veterans. Some of  what Twenty22Many does:

  • Weekly open meetings where we invite Veterans and those who support them  into our shop for a few hours of community and up building fellowship
  • We do annual POW/MIA Day Resource Fair that provides vital networking between our Veterans and prospective employers
  • Annual PTSD Awareness March at our State Capitol to bring awareness to  the Veteran suicide epidemic
  • Twenty22Many Veteran Yoga Program
  • Twenty22Many Veteran Fellowship Summer BBQ Series
  • Twenty22Many Veteran Education and Empowerment Center
  • A safe haven from the downtown streets, providing a safe place to victims of abuse and violence
  • We provide homeless resources (Clothing, Food, Shelter from the cold in our Lacey Warming Center)

 

We have big plans for the future as well! Here are a few things that Twenty22Many is currently fighting diligently towards:

  • Scholarships program
  • A.L.I.C.E. (All Purpose Lightweight Individual Carrying Equipment) Packs Program for Homeless Veterans
  • Transportation to and from the VA for Veterans doctors appointments
  • National Veterans Suicide Awareness Day July 22nd

 

Patrick’s favorite quote that he uses frequently comes from our First President George Washington:

“The willingness with which our young people are likely to serve in any war, no matter how justified, shall be directly proportional to how they perceive Veterans of earlier wars were treated and appreciated by our nation.” – George Washington

We invite everyone to [join us and participate in this well worthwhile fight!

 

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