Veteran on trial for using marijuana to cope with PTSD

Veteran on trial for using marijuana to cope with PTSD

A Florida war veteran is facing charges of growing and using marijuana after police found six plants in the man’s West Palm Beach home. According to reports, the man had been using marijuana to self-medicate for post-traumatic stress disorder.

The man’s story began in 2003, when he joined the army and was then stationed overseas in Afghanistan and Iraq. The soldier was regularly subjected to gunfire, and in 2005, he witnessed the death of an 11-year-old boy he had become friends with. The boy was reportedly shot and killed when the man’s unit was hit by gunfire in an alley.

After his service, the Army vet was presented with several medals and ribbons, and he was given an honorable medical discharge with a diagnosis of PTSD. According to reports, the man tried multiple treatments for the PTSD, but the medications did not work. The man reportedly almost committed suicide three times before other former soldiers suggested using marijuana to help with the PTSD symptoms. According to the man’s attorney, it worked.

Police arrested the man in May 2014 after the plants were confiscated. The man was offered a deal by the prosecutors which would have led to a conviction on this criminal record, probation and never being able to use marijuana again. Many have rallied around the man, including United for Care, and the trial is set for May 18.

Although the legalization of medical marijuana was on the Florida ballot in November 2014, it did not get quite enough votes to pass. There is now a new petition to get it presented again. This example shows how important it is to have experienced legal representation when you are fighting these types of charges.

Source: Orlando Weekly, "War veteran, PTSD and weed: Medical marijuana goes to court," Billy Manes, May. 12, 2015

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