Occupation: I am an active duty Wounded Warrior at the Wounded Warrior Battalion, on Camp Pendleton, California. It is my responsibility to attend various medical appointments associated with my 33 medical conditions. It is also my responsibility to enroll in adaptive sports and focus on my future.
When and how did you become an advocate for cannabis?
A part of the requirements here at the Wounded Warrior Battalion is to complete an internship, but I want to work in the cannabis industry, so that creates a huge grey area. I attended THC University and gained a number of certificates for the cannabis industry. After a detailed assessment of my character, I became the first and only active duty service member given permission to work in the cannabis industry.
How has cannabis benefited your life?
My father is an Army vet and I unknowingly witnessed a huge change in him as he medicated with cannabis in the ‘90s. I lived with my grandparents in 2005 and found out they both medicated as well. While living with my grandparents in the country, I utilized horticulture as a form of therapy before I even knew what horticulture was. I created a garden for myself and I absolutely fell in love with the art of gardening.
Being at the Wounded Warrior Battalion, I see other Wounded Warriors completely zombified on some of these drugs. It really digs deep to see all these pills being consumed by those I wish to deploy with. Walking up every morning with a routine to down 12-plus pills is disgusting. You can’t even eat a full breakfast because you drank so much water just to get the pills down. Cannabis saved my life by giving me hope in a time where there are 23 veteran suicides daily. Cannabis gives me a sense of purpose. I’m blessed with the knowledge and passion that I can create medicine for those who need it most. I can be a liberator for those who liberate our beautiful country. My guys often remind me to take care of myself. I know I’m a recovering service member, but doing things for others makes me feel more capable. I may have a hard time with a lot of daily activities, but I can grow some amazing relief and teach those in need how to do it for themselves. I’m giving a man a fish to eat for a day while also teaching him how to be self sustainable for life.
What’s your greatest achievement for the cannabis cause?
Simply put, I’m the first and only active duty service member given permission to work in the cannabis industry and I’ve submitted my state physician’s recommendation for medical marijuana into the navy medical files.
Who do you look up to or admire?
I admire a lot of people. I would feel disrespectful to just name a few and leave someone out. I have this philosophy to take things I like about people and introduce those qualities into personality. If we are talking about cannabis, there are so many marijuana idols I have, it will blow your mind. I have items that influenced my actions today that had nothing to do with cannabis. My grandmother is an amazing woman and she has been supportive this entire time with everything I’ve done. She supported me in my choice to defend the constitution and she supports my choice to provide herb for heroes.
If you could change one thing about the way cannabis is viewed and/or treated right now, what would it be?
I’m going to make a few people upset but I really want our image with cannabis to change. And when I say our, I’m talking about the cannabis community itself. We advocate for change and fight for the right to be true Americans and enjoy our lives yet we sometimes create a negative image that makes it longer to progress. Cannabis is a beneficial herb with life-saving and life-changing medicinal properties . . . but if we name a stain “Alaskan Donkey Poop,” we aren’t making things any easier on the cause. Cannabis saves lives. Cannabis is a safe alternative to alcohol. These two statements are completely different conversations. Separate the two for the benefit of the patient.