This is part 1 of 3 in a series brought to you by our good friends at MagicalButter.com.
Equal Access For All
The 2015 CannaBall Run, sponsored by the Weed for Warriors Project and MagicalButter.com, began on October 17 at the Santa Monica Pier. Veterans, athletes and supporters gathered at the pier early in the morning to watch the sunrise and raise awareness for Treating War Trauma with Cannabis.
Jose Martinez, a triple amputee, along with TeamMB and veteran brothers from the Weed for Warriors Project, marched 4.20 miles along the coast of Palisades Park to raise awareness of Veterans Treating War Trauma with Cannabis. It was a truly inspirational march, followed by emotional speeches from veterans detailing their ongoing battle with PTSD. They are also battling the executive and legislative branches of the U.S. government for recognition of a safe, natural alternative treatment option to the standard assortment of pills for veterans, regardless of their state of residence.
Large crowds of concerned citizens gathered in support of the cause and gained an inside look into the hearts and minds of our injured veterans. With so many of their fellow fighters lost to suicide and prescription-drug addiction, these military professionals are now fighting for their unalienable right of equal access to cannabis medicine. As federal patients, they require that they be afforded the same rights as veterans in so-called “legal states.”
They, along with a growing number of compassionate doctors, know that cannabis is a superior treatment for war trauma. Many patients find that with access to cannabis, they no longer need as much, if any, opioid medication. They notice that ordinary daily events stop triggering violent alarm responses. They look forward to living life instead of ending it. (These are all what doctors refer to as “good things.”)
While the Cannaball Run is a fun and positive campaign, this is an especially important issue with our nation still at war, because we are losing many more veterans here at home as a result of combat than overseas in actual combat.
The statistics don’t lie: One in five Iraq and Afghanistan war veterans has been diagnosed with PTSD. Every day, on average, 22 veterans commit suicide. In 2012, we lost 6,500 veterans to their own hand—more than were killed in 10 years of the Iraq war. Equally impossible to fathom: Of the 23 states that do have medical cannabis laws, over half exclude PTSD as a qualifying condition!
These shocking statistics are why so many compassionate people are supporting our military men and women by contributing to the Weed for Warriors Project and the America’s Veterans Demand Change crowd-funding campaign at Indiegogo.com. The veterans thank you!
Reeling Through Tinseltown
After our 4.20-mile march, we met for CBD water and gathered to listen to the veterans speak. Spectators were given a glimpse into the horrors our ex-military members suffer daily and to the miracles of relief that cannabis can offer. There is a large homeless population in Los Angeles, many of whom are veterans. They were welcomed and treated like the brothers they are. We gave them new t-shirts, water and new hope for what is to come.
As the Cannaball Run roared through Los Angeles, veterans enjoyed the exhilarating experience of driving supercars (at safe and legal speeds, of course) through the Hollywood hills. The evening ended with an intimate gathering at ROC Santa Monica, including canna-cuisine prepared by Charles “Chef Nugs” Kavanaugh, an Army Ranger and gourmet extraordinaire.
With doctors and veterans able to speak and listen to one another in a relaxed, informal atmosphere, we mixed it up on the rooftop of Google’s former L.A. headquarters. Things got even more intimate at the end of the night when 17 people got stuck in an elevator and were rescued by the fire department after 40 minutes in a stuffy box (a potentially traumatic event had this not been such a thoroughly herb-infused, friendly group).
High-Rolling Into Las Vegas
The Cannaball Run crossed California and rolled into Las Vegas for a fundraiser for the Weed for Warriors Project, sponsored by Magicalbutter.com. We reached Las Vegas with smiles on our faces and bright lights in our eyes in the middle of a vast desert. While there, we were greeted with open arms by Freedom Leaf magazine and the American Cannabis Nurses’ Association. Great memories were made as we feasted on delicious, infused treats including glazed beignets, cannabis crab cakes, and generous amounts of yummy gummy bears loaded with MagicalButter Oil, in the MagicalButter hospitality suite over the Vegas skyline.
Appearances by industry leaders stimulated generous contributions to our cause, supporting our mission to change bad policy.
The program included speeches by Bruce Perlowin, CEO of Hemp, Inc., and by members of the American Cannabis Nurses Association. The event was a huge success in raising funds and awareness for Veterans Treating War Trauma with Cannabis, and it also established positive relationships between those in need and those who can help. Collaboration will be essential for change to be achieved. With so many supporters from various walks of life, the VA will have the tools and knowledge for a positive solution.
Staying Elevated In Utah
From Nevada, we trekked to Utah and enjoyed beautiful views of Salt Lake City from 5,000 feet. On the first day, veterans got to enjoy paragliding using the MagicalButter acrobatic wing with championship paraglider Billy Purden. To celebrate "Back to the Future" Day—October 21, 2015—TeamMB rode electric skateboards.
On the following day, we drove out to the desert to get high. Thirteen thousand feet high, to be exact—skydiving with Tony Murray of the TeamMB Australia Flight Crew! Tony had flown from Down Under to take part in the event and raise awareness for those who need natural medicine. Everyone stayed elevated, even those rational-minded souls who saw no logical reason to jump out of a perfectly good airplane.
Utah is a unique place. They did not know what to think when they saw the brilliantly colorful Cannaball Run convoy pull into town. Still, we were greeted with open arms and given the opportunity to try fry sauce, which apparently is a Salt Lake City staple. We were inspired to create a fry sauce recipe that can be made in the MagicalButter machine, infused with your favorite herb. Stay tuned!
Mile-High Dinner Affair
Heading east, the Cannaball Run arrived in Denver. Astonishingly, the state of Colorado—famously first in the nation to legalize both medical and adult discretionary cannabis—has yet to recognize PTSD as a qualifying condition for a medical cannabis prescription. (If your first thought upon reading that sentence began with the words “What the,” you’re right on track.)
As such, our veterans, many of whom live on a limited income, are forced to purchase their medicine as so-called “recreational” consumers. This depletes their funds faster, while also disregarding their medical needs. Attorney Robert Hoban, whose firm is suing the state of Colorado over their failure to include PTSD in its medical cannabis law, was a featured speaker at our Denver event.
Denver was, in a word, awesome.
We finally felt comfortable in our own skin, not having to hide being medicated. Even without recognition of PTSD as a qualifying condition, the veterans were able to access a plethora of infused media, including cannabis sodas, delicious edibles and transdermal patches from Mary's Medicinals. After a week or two on the road, when muscles get tired and sore, cannabis is there to help! We were given an all-access tour of Medicine Man, one of the state-of-the-art cannabis facilities in Colorado. It was a great pleasure to see all the production and where the industry is heading. For all involved, this was a very positive leg of the tour.
MagicalButter.com sponsored a mile-high cannabis cook-off at the Cannabis Radio Network studios of SiriusXM 42.0 The Joint. Chef Nugs and Chef Joey Galeano of MagicalButter.com went head-to-head, cooking up two beautiful infused meals for our panel of judges/guest speakers. Guest speakers included Wendy Turner and her son Coltyn, a 15-year-old Crohn’s disease survivor who has been in remission since he began CBD oil treatment. Wendy and Coltyn, who along with the rest of their family, uprooted and moved to Colorado from Illinois for Coltyn’s cannabis medicine, have both testified before the Colorado state legislature on veterans’ behalf to get PTSD recognized as a qualifying condition.
As the night went on, we met dozens more medical refugees in the audience; veterans from as far and wide as North Carolina, Ohio, Florida, Oklahoma, and Texas had moved to Colorado in order to have a life again—thanks to cannabis access. But they still need widespread support and unrelenting pressure applied on their elected representatives to make serious, debilitating medical conditions such as PTSD and TBI (traumatic brain injury) qualify for affordable cannabis medicine.
Creating Jobs In Phoenix At The Southwest Cannabis Conference
On October 27, MagicalButter.com, the Weed For Warriors Project and a group of veterans marched from the Sandra Day O’Connor Federal Courthouse to the Southwest Cannabis Conference, escorted by a police brigade. The market’s most innovative products and companies, along with scheduled seminars and presentations by industry business leaders and experts, were on full display.
Upon arrival, we were notified that the start of the conference was briefly delayed due to the DEA sweeping the booths, swabbing for traces of THC. After those tax dollars were well spent, and we were—to the tremendous relief of all—safe from THC, the free-enterprise event was allowed to continue.
The veterans were cheered on with a round of applause and media cameras. They joined psychiatrist Sue Sisley on a discussion panel, giving them the opportunity to speak to attendees and educate them on our wounded warriors’ need for equal federal access to cannabis. Dr. Sisley, who for many years ignored or disregarded the claims by her veteran patients that they received PTSD relief from cannabis, had a change of heart and decided to get to the truth. That decision got her fired from her job as associate professor of psychiatry at the University of Arizona, which wanted no connection of their brand to “marijuana”—even if it could save lives.
Undeterred, she has fought hard for the ability to have cannabis in clinical trials to confirm whether it is beneficial. Herb used in clinical testing, however, must come from the federal government. Eighteen months later she is still waiting for the feds to authorize the University of Mississippi to grow the specific phenotypes she has requested. (All strains are not always good for those suffering from PTSD. For example, some sativa-dominant hybrids can trigger unpleasant memories and anxiety.)
We have reason to be positive and expect that, once the plants are available, trials will be conducted and will prove true what the veterans have been saying all along about the safety and effectiveness of cannabis for war trauma.
As the veterans spoke, there were many thoughtful questions from audience members. Many of the family members of veterans who joined in supporting the cause were themselves suffering from PTSD due to living in the household of those afflicted. Several veterans and family members stood and spoke in honor and praise of the veterans’ courage.
Many in the service have been heavily indoctrinated to think that anyone who uses cannabis is a “hippie” or going against “the man.” So, for these men and women to stand up before a group and admit they have a problem, and they’ve found something that is helping, is a huge step forward. They are passionate about sharing this information and re-educating their military brothers and sisters.
Also present at the conference was the Gridiron Cannabis Coalition, featuring ex-NFL football players Kyle Turley and Ricky Williams, among others. Some head injuries that NFL players suffer during games are similar to the traumatic brain injuries (TBI) experienced by veterans. It was very interesting to see the parallels between the two groups; not only the injuries they endure, but also the indoctrination of the player and the militarization of the team. The athletes revealed that, in a sense, they too are playing violent war games: 32 sovereign nations fighting every Sunday for the chance to be crowned king and given a jeweled ring, and their personal safety is a distant concern.
NFL players committing suicide has recently raised awareness of the link between that tragic choice and TBI. Unfortunately, as in the military, “marijuana” use is still heavily demonized and punished in the NFL, while alcohol is celebrated. As such, MagicalButter will be donating machines to football players to aid in their recovery and treatment of their illnesses using natural cannabis medicine.
The Southwest Cannabis Conference was an abundant sea of products and services, including job-seeking services similar to Monster.com, and cannabis colleges. The world’s largest VW bus, dubbed “Walter," was in the house, along with professional athletes with the GridIron Coalition and cannabis-industry and medical professionals.
In the evening, MagicalButter.com hosted a charity poker game, with an impressive catered spread that invited guests to relax and enjoy the cuisine and camaraderie. The Texas Hold’em game was a heated match, with José Martinez the early leader after laying down quad aces within the first three hands. The competition was fierce, but he took the match and the prize money!
Stay tuned for parts 2 and 3, brought to you by MagicalButter.com.