On Sunday, March 3, 2019, Cannabis Community Care and Research Network (C3RN) along with Veterans Alternative Healing Inc. and Joint Venture & Co. launched the Cannabis Advancement Series. The event, which took place in Boston’s District Hall, focused on supporting and educating Veterans and their families about medical cannabis advocacy, access, and research. Keynote speakers included Commissioner Shaleen Title of the Cannabis Control Commission, Dr. Peter Grinspoon a primary care physician and instructor at Harvard Medical School, and Jan Roberts the Director of Translational Research at the International Research Center on Cannabis and Mental Health in New York. Live footage from the conference can be found here. Additional conferences are scheduled to take place across the state of Massachusetts, see below for dates and locations.
Stephen Mandile, the founder of Veterans Alternative Healing Inc a 501(C)(3) NON-PROFIT organization, began his public journey for cannabis advocacy in February of 2016 when he stood on top of a news van in front of the Massachusetts State House to fight for affordable and safe access to medical cannabis for Veterans. Today, Mandile’s organization focuses on helping Veterans obtain affordable access to medical cannabis in order to help reduce prescription opioid use and overdose. According to a 2018 report by the Department of Public Health, Massachusetts Veterans are at a higher risk of dying from an opioid overdose than the rest of the population.
Veterans Alternative Healing Inc, has partnered with seven dispensaries across Massachusetts, including Bask in Fairhaven, to offer the Veterans Care Program. Through this program, Veterans who are registered with the Massachusetts Medical Use of Marijuana program with a rating of 100% Service Connected Disability will receive up to 40% off their medical cannabis purchases per month. The organization’s goal is to reduce the costs of medical cannabis to help reduce the number of prescription opioids used by Veterans.
According to a survey conducted by Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America, 83% of members agree cannabis should be legal for medicinal purposes. With cannabis listed as a Schedule I Drug at the federal level, Veterans are unable to receive medical cannabis through government programs that are subsidizing the cost of prescription drugs. At this time, there is very little research available in America about medical cannabis use by Veterans. Understanding that one of the first steps toward policy change is collecting research and data, members of C3RN and Veterans Alternative Healing along with UMass Dartmouth, formulated an anonymous Veterans Health and Cannabis Citizen Science Survey. The project has also partnered with Disabled American Veterans (DAV) of Massachusetts. According to Veterans Alternative Healing Inc., “Anonymous data collected from the survey will be analyzed and a policy memo will be prepared for the DAV to be used for state and federal level advocacy to increase access to medical cannabis for Veterans who wish to have alternative options for managing their health conditions.” Veterans of the US Military who are age 21 and older may take the survey to help contribute to cannabis policy and advocacy.
Bask is a proud sponsor of the Cannabis Advancement Series and a proud participant of the Veterans Health and Cannabis Citizen Science Survey. Veterans who are 21+ and patients of the Massachusetts Medical Use of Marijuana program will receive 125 Bask Loyalty Points upon completion of the anonymous survey. Patients with a rating of 100% Service Connected Disability also qualify for 40% off their purchases at Bask each month through the Veterans Care Program. As a Veteran owned and operated dispensary, we understand the importance of affordable access to medical cannabis and alternative healing. If you have any questions about the survey or the Veterans Care Program, send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org