The issue of Veteran suicides is real and troubling, as has been stated by the following U.S. Senators.
“When you have 8,000 veterans a year committing suicide, then you have a serious problem.” – Senator Johnny Isakson (R – GA)
“Every day, approximately 22 American veterans commit suicide, totaling over 8,000 veteran suicides each year — I repeat, 8,000 veteran suicides each year.” – Senator John McCain (R – AZ)
“Every day in the United States, 22 veterans succumb to suicide — losing their personal battle to invisible wounds of war.” - Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D – CT.)
Project-22 is a joint collaboration of The National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML) with state chapters from Missouri and Colorado.
The 1st Annual Institute of Cannabis Research Conference will be held on April 28th, 29th, and 30th, 2017, at Colorado State University in Pueblo, Colorado.
22 Veterans from Missouri will be flown into Pueblo for this conference. The experience will be recorded and shared as a documentary, especially in the 22 States that currently have no medical cannabis legislation, so that others may share the experience and learn, along with these combat veterans, how cannabis therapy alleviates the mental illness symptoms of Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome (PTSD) caused by exposure to military combat service, among other uses.
On April 29th, 2017 at 4:30 p.m The Project-22 Summit & Ceremony will take place on the Veteran Memorial grounds during a planned break of the Inaugural Cannabis Research Conference. 22
bagpipers will join in playing ‘Taps’.
Blake Bell is the Executive Director of Greater St. Louis NORML and the driving force behind this project. In a chat I had with Blake, he said, “Many veterans have told us that they find relief through cannabis, and have become healthy, happy, functioning, and productive members of society because of it. Our goal is to educate all veterans that there are safe, non-toxic options for them.”
In an email to NORML Chapters nationwide Bell stated, “Currently Greater St. Louis NORML, NORML KC, MU NORML, Mid-Mo NORML, Springfield MO, NORML, Missouri NORML, Denver NORML, and now Colorado NORML are going to work together to educate on this epidemic of suicide in the veteran community and cannabis’ role in reversing it.
He further stated:
“We are calling for veterans, their families, and friends from all over the U.S. to join us in a ceremony to bring to light the epidemic that is ravaging our veterans. This year over 8000 veterans will complete
suicide; 22 a day, every day. Help us shine some light on this issue and help us start saving lives today. If you can’t make it you can still help! Send us your empty pill bottles for the summit that we will deliver to the White House steps following the conference. Feel free to put a note in them! Or light your own candles at home & post on social media with the hashtag #Project22 on 4/29/17. Send them to:
Care of Professor Tim McGettigan
Dept. of Sociology
2200 Bonforte Blvd, Pueblo, CO 81001″
In that same email Blake says “Here’s my vision for you joining us. Come out to this conference and bring as many veterans as you can. It’s that simple. We are creating a documentary here and can you just imagine having 22 veterans from the 22 states that STILL DON’T HAVE LEGAL CANNABIS joining together to send a message to not only our states but to the federal government, that we are United? I can. That’s why I am asking you to join us. Even if you can bring 1 vet, bring 1 vet but don’t forget to bring your state flag. For every state that joins us at the ceremony, we want to have their state’s flag during our ceremony”.
As a retired Veteran, I’d love to see 22 Georgia Veterans attend this conference. Trips to Colorado and back are expensive, though. We have approximately 2 months to try and put something together. Sharon Ravert, our illustrious Executive Director, and I are discussing possible funding options. If you’re a Georgia Veteran who is interested, contact us.
You can read more about Project 22 on their website @ http://project-22.org/