H.R. NO.













requesting the director of health and the united states secretary of veterans affairs for a report on veterans’ access to medical marijuana.




     WHEREAS, the men and women in the armed forces in America are willing to risk their lives defending our freedom, demonstrating great courage and commitment to this country; and


     WHEREAS, these brave defenders of democracy face tremendous pressure and are exposed to traumatic events that can negatively affect their mental health; and


     WHEREAS, one of the most challenging mental health issues that many veterans must address is posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), which can result in night terrors, insomnia, feelings of emptiness, unusual bouts of anger or irritability and a general loss of interest in activities that they used to enjoy; and


     WHEREAS, approximately 20% of the veterans returning from recent wars have been diagnosed as suffering from posttraumatic stress disorder and nearly 300,000 veterans have been diagnosed with PTSD according to the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA); and


     WHEREAS, the number of veterans that may be suffering from PTSD is likely much greater than 300,000 as many veterans may not report their symptoms, and are thus not formally diagnosed nor receiving any treatment; and


     WHEREAS, large numbers of veterans are self-medicating their PTSD with marijuana because they feel it is more effective in treating their symptoms than medications they have been prescribed by physicians; and


     WHEREAS, the Department of Veterans Affairs’ psychiatrists are not able to prescribe medical marijuana to veterans because it is a Schedule 1 substance and as such, VA psychiatrists are not authorized to prescribe it or even to fill out a registration card; and


WHEREAS, the primary care physicians for many, if not most, veterans are part of the VA system; and


     WHEREAS, some doctors, such as Dr. Raphael Mechoulam, have studied the use of marijuana for medicinal purposes in treating PTSD and found that it helps with “memory extinction”; and


WHEREAS, “memory extinction” is the positive side of memory loss that occurs from smoking cannabis which, for veterans, is helpful because it causes a break in the association they have formed between traumatic events and other stimulation that set off their PTSD; and


WHEREAS, there are many states that have approved the use of medical marijuana for the treatment of PTSD including: California, Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, New Mexico and Oregon; and


WHEREAS, strains of marijuana have been developed in Israel that have markedly elevated levels of specific pharmacologically active substances such as tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), cannabinoid and cannabinoids (CBDs); and


WHEREAS, availability of these different strains would potentially facilitate the care of both veterans and nonveterans with PTSD and other disorders; and


WHEREAS, nonveterans who are certified for medical marijuana use may have difficulty growing their own marijuana and may benefit from being able to purchase medical marijuana; and


WHEREAS, growing cooperatives are allowed by law in California; and


     WHEREAS, if the classification of marijuana changes from a Schedule 1 drug to a Schedule 2 drug, VA doctors can treat veterans suffering from PTSD with medical marijuana without fearing consequences from the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), which currently might include losing their jobs, their licenses or even facing criminal charges; and


WHEREAS, the stress of growing their own marijuana may exacerbate the symptoms of PTSD and other anxiety disorders in veterans; and


WHEREAS, homelessness is a huge and growing problem in Hawaii and veterans are disproportionately represented among the homeless; and


WHEREAS, cooperatives could and perhaps should be established for homeless veterans to both live in and grow marijuana to treat their mental health issues; and


WHEREAS, allowing veterans to grow marijuana in groups or cooperatives would provide for social support, housing and a source of income; and


WHEREAS, veterans who live on these rural cooperatives can grow or raise much of their own food in addition to growing marijuana; and


WHEREAS, there is a “Veterans to Farmers” training program being developed at the University of Hawaii in Hilo to help veterans through both hands-on training for growing food and through classroom curriculum on business management; and


WHEREAS, the “Veterans to Farmers" program can be a reference point for creating the veterans cooperative laid out in this resolution; and


WHEREAS, it might be beneficial for the cooperatives to:


(1) Be set up in rural or agricultural areas;


(2) Be exempt from requiring special permits;


(3) Allow for multiple dwellings on the agricultural   

    parcels to provide home for veterans, including housing

    for homeless veterans; and


(4) Give the veterans living on these cooperatives the

    ability to grow their own food in addition to     

    marijuana; and


(5) The ability to sell extra marijuana to other veterans     

    and non-veterans who are appropriately registered; and


(6) The ability to receive individual and group therapy

    onsite; and


(7) Possibly incorporate a care home and a hospice

    facility for veterans on the facility; and


(8) Allow for multiple homes on the property which will

    enhance the safety and security of the collective

    now, therefore,


     BE IT RESOLVED by the House of Representatives of the Twenty-seventh Legislature of the State of Hawaii, Regular Session of 2014, that this body asks the Department of Health, the United States Department of Veterans Affairs, Hawaii State Department of Agriculture, the School of Pharmacy at the University of Hawaii at Hilo, the John A. Burns School of Medicine, Tripler Military Hospital and other appropriate stakeholders each to submit a report of their respective findings and recommendations, including any proposed legislation, to the Legislature, not later than twenty days prior to the convening of the Regular Session of 2015, with regards to:


(1) The enactment and implementation of federal legislation



(A) Facilitate veterans’ access to medical marijuana

    for the treatment of PTSD and other severe anxiety  

    disorders; and


(B) Enable physicians with the United States

    Department of Veterans Affairs to prescribe

    medical marijuana to Veterans; and


     (2) The most effective methods, and the procedures

         necessary, to establish cooperatives where homeless

         veterans may live and grow marijuana for medical

         purposes; and


     BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that certified copies of this Resolution be transmitted to the Director of Health and the United States Secretary of Veterans Affairs






































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