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Veterans and cannabis have made waves in the industry. Military veterans have forged paths as entrepreneurs, employees, and card-carrying patients in this industry.
Veterans consume cannabis at higher rates than most of the country, so it is no surprise that vets have gravitated toward the industry for employment and business.
Experience in the military has prepared veterans to have the strong leadership, operational, attention-to-detail, and teamworking skills necessary to handle the obstacles of this developing industry. Here is how veterans have worked to change the industry for the better.
Veterans Working in the Cannabis Industry
The cannabis industry has been a welcome environment for many veterans who want to start their own business or work their way up the ranks from an entry-level position to a higher-paying one in a cannabis company.
Veterans are found throughout the cannabis workforce, from entry-level trimmers to CEOs running the company.
In particular, veterans’ experience in the military has made them particularly well-suited for the security segment of the industry.
Cannabis businesses are required to have strong security measures put in place. For example, dispensaries must have an armed security guard outside the retail store and another to transport the cash and inventory.
Veterans can excel in all sectors of the industry, not just security. Cannabis cultivation, retail, processing, lab testing, distribution, and ancillary sectors can all benefit from the sense of responsibility and tactical training that veterans bring.
Veterans Starting Cannabis Businesses
Military veterans know the physical and mental trauma that they all face after serving. Cannabis has shown to be especially helpful to veterans looking for relief for their post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), pain, and anxiety. Many veterans start a business in this industry to help others like them who can benefit from cannabis.
Helmand Valley Growing Company was founded by a group of Marine veterans who wanted to increase awareness about mental health and safe cannabis use. HVGC products can be found in California dispensaries. All of the profits go to medical cannabis research for veterans. The company is partnered with an Israeli lab, NiaMedic Healthcare, and UC Irvine to study veterans and cannabis use.
Bryan Buckley, CEO of HVGC, told NBC San Diego, “you have a lot of great men and women who went forward to fight for us and now they've returned and physically they're back here but spiritually they're not. We want to be that beacon of light to help them live that American dream that they fought to defend.”
Craig Henderson, an Army veteran founded Extract Labs in Boulder, Colorado. His mission was to help veterans with PTSD and combat injuries through the therapeutic power of cannabis.
Candle with the Cure, a candle and topical brand, was founded by Joe Ketterer, a Navy veteran. His goal was to use his hydroponics skills to help veterans and others use medical cannabis to heal their mental and physical combat wounds.
Minnesota-based Nothing but Hemp was the state's first CBD store and was co-founded by Steven Brown, a Marine veteran. Brown told Benzinga, “Veterans like me are fearless. We work hard, we train, we put a good team in place and we leave that team with confidence. We can handle the risk because we are prepared to move in any direction, and that's what it takes to be a good entrepreneur.”
Veterans and Cannabis Use is Affected by Prohibition
Broad accessibility to cannabis for veterans has been slow to come. For instance, the Veterans Medical Marijuana Safe Harbor Act has had a couple of passes at Congressional approval without success. The proposal would increase accessibility to medical cannabis for veterans suffering from a variety of medical conditions.
Currently, veterans are allowed to use medical cannabis where it is legal. Their medical cannabis use will not interfere with any VA benefits they receive.
Veterans may risk losing their financial assistance from the VA, but it could affect how doctors treat veterans. If a doctor sees that a veteran consumes medical cannabis, they may opt not to prescribe an essential medication needed for surgery in fear of increasing the risk for dependency.
Overall, cannabis laws and regulations promoting veteran cannabis use and employment assistance have left more to be desired. Several veteran-run nonprofits have filled in the governmental haps by advocating for comprehensive cannabis reform for veterans and assisting veterans in the industry.
How the Cannabis Industry Helps Veterans
Many cannabis businesses see the impact they can have on veterans and how veterans can equally support their business. Here are a few organizations that currently support veterans in the marijuana industry:
- THC Design – THC Design provides a marijuana cultivation internship program for veterans
- Buds for Vets – A Florida-based organization that helps veterans get access to medical cannabis. They provide subsidized doctor screenings where it is legal.
- Battle Brothers Foundation – Battle Brothers offers mentorship and apprenticeship trade programs to enable veterans to break into the industry and gain medical treatment.
- Veterans Cannabis Project – A nonprofit organization committed to educating lawmakers and veterans about the benefits of medical cannabis use.
Veterans and cannabis have a long history together and the industry owes veterans a lot of gratitude for their service and their ties to the cannabis industry.
Cannabis Education at a Discount for Veterans
Cannabis Training University, the world’s most renowned industry training institute, offers a 10% discount to veterans with proof of military background. Students can learn how to grow cannabis, cook with cannabis, use cannabis as medicine, find employment in the industry, and start a business. Enroll in the best online cannabis school today!