Northwest Florida

Local veterans make the case for medical marijuana

PENSACOLA, Fla. (WKRG) - The opioid crisis in the United States is leading to more support for other treatment options including medical marijuana. 

Some local veterans are calling for it to be legal nationwide and easier to access for those who need it. 

Patrick Prevot Sr. had cancer and died at the age of 54. He served in the U.S. military from 1981 until 2011...

"He had the pain, he couldn't eat, it hurt him to walk," Widow Nancy Prevot said.

Prevot said medical cannabis made his final months much better.

"Even at the end of his life, if it wasn't for that treatment of cannabis, it would've really been hard," she said. "You know, when you've been with someone all of your life, we were together for 23 years to see someone to go from over 200 pounds down to 100 and some odd pounds, that's hard."

She was one of about two dozen veterans meeting with Congressman Matt Gaetz at the University of West Florida. 

Matthew Rumple is part of a group who came together and they want another legal option besides pills.

"Most of us suffer from PTSD, TBI, and we've been stuck with medications for a number of years that we don't use or don't agree with and it's a lot of problems for us because it can cause suicidal ideations. It can cause a lot of other medical problems with long-term use and we want to see a change."

Congressman Gaetz says he's getting pushback from those in his own party so he hopes these veterans' personal stories will drum up some support. 

"Right now, frankly, I face many Republicans in the Congress who are reflexively opposed to any type of marijuana reform so telling the stories from people in our community who've seen a benefit from medical marijuana will really help me persuade people that this is the right path forward."

Gaetz will propose legislation soon that will make it easier for universities and hospitals to do medical cannabis research, open up dialogue at the VA, and allow more growing of medical cannabis. 

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