Columbia, SC – The Veterans Alliance for Holistic Alternatives joined a united group of advocates today to support the South Carolina Compassionate Care Act (SCCCA), led by Gary Hess, VAHA founder and Executive Director.
The SCCCA would create a comprehensive medical cannabis program administered by the Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) which would allow patients with certain specific debilitating conditions, and a recommendation from their physician, to access cannabis products from state-licensed dispensaries.
Hess, who served in the United States Marine Corp as an enlisted infantryman and officer, served multiple combat deployments in Iraq, during some of the heaviest levels of fighting. He came home suffering from traumatic brain injury, chronic pain, and Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) among other conditions.
“Veterans,and all South Carolinians, should have the freedom to pursue health care options, just like their family members and friends in 36 other states. The SCCCA is a basic step to allow patients and their doctors to chart a course to more effective health outcomes,” Hess said.
VAHA is planning to organize veterans to participate in the medical cannabis debate in South Carolina. Since 9/11/01, just over 7,000 US service members have lost their lives in combat. During that same period, 120,000 veterans have committed suicide and the numbers continue to climb every day with no end in sight. South Carolina has the highest population of veterans per capita, representing 10% of the state’s population.
“We will help South Carolinians understand what’s at stake for our veterans and those with chronic health conditions. As this health care crisis plays out in the veteran community, the medical freedom to pursue other options, like cannabis, seems like common sense.”
Hess concluded, “These men and women have fought for their country, made sacrifices that have changed their lives forever. South Carolina veterans are asking for the basic right to seek safe, legal cannabis, obtained from a doctor, rather than off of the street. Are we really going to tell them “No?”