In honor of May being National Military Appreciation Month, we are highlighting some of our favorite veteran-focused cannabis organizations. These groups have had boots on the ground all around the United States and beyond, doing the dirty work to ensure that veterans have access to safe, clean medicine and pushing the VA to expand that access at every opportunity. We sat down with the leadership of Weed For Warriors to take a deeper dive into their path to compassion through cannabis.
What is Weed for Warriors Project?
WFW: The Weed for Warriors Project evolved from three veterans: Kevin Richardson (USMC) Mark Carrillo (USMC) & Sean Kiernan (US Army) connecting in 2014 while on individual journeys using cannabis as medicine, and also avoiding the VA standard of care death cocktails. While their paths to the plant varied, they all credit cannabis as an essential tool in their post-service survival.
Under Proposition 215, this led to organizing volunteer chapters throughout California and other states; each hosting monthly gatherings for veterans to share cannabis and camaraderie, and all donation and volunteer based.
Transitioning from Proposition 215 to Proposition 64 led to WFWP getting more politically involved, as the grassroots gatherings became “unlicensed events,” putting veterans’ safety and security at risk. This, along with other factors, has challenged WFWP to make adjustments.
Currently, WFWP hosts events with other groups under CA Senate Bill 34, using social media and word of mouth to serve 50-200 veterans per location at 5-15 events per month throughout California. These events are 100% free to the veteran patients who attend.
What is the mission statement and main initiatives you’re looking to accomplish?
WFW: Our mission statement is as follows: Weed For Warriors Project is a social justice lifestyle brand supporting holistic rehabilitation for veterans through community-based projects, proactive care advocacy, cannabis education and compassion. WFWP urges change for the empowerment of the people.
Community-based projects include our SB34 events, homeless feeds and park BBQs, to name a few. Connecting veterans to each other and their communities in various ways helps unload some of the burdens they carry, and gives them a mission close to home.
Proactive care advocacy and cannabis education encompass WFWP’s advocacy efforts in VA healthcare and cannabis access (at local, state and federal levels).
Compassion is essential to all parts of the WFWP mission, as this is a complex economic and political systemic issue as well as a highly individual issue. (Everybody is different, just as much as every body is different). Cannabis is not a fix all, but rather a tool in the toolbox of mental health. It opens the door to empowering humans in their health and in turn, their lives. Access is the key component to allowing compassion to occur.
Proactive care advocacy and cannabis education encompass WFWP’s advocacy efforts in VA healthcare and cannabis access (at individual, local, state and federal levels). Urging for change is a reminder that change doesn’t happen overnight or on a whim. It takes effort on all fronts.
The enemies change tactics, and the mission adjusts accordingly. Veteran members have joined in these efforts and often speak their brutally honest truths to committees and congressional offices. SB 34 is just one example of how those unfiltered moments have impacted current conditions.
How can new members get involved? Is there a way for non-military members to support the group?
WFW: To attend a WFWP SB34 event, veterans just need to show up in person with their valid state ID, proof of military service, and a current medical cannabis recommendation from a valid doctor. Event dates & locations are updated regularly on WFWP linktree.
While WFWP keeps these events free to veterans, there are still costs associated with holding them and support from non-military comes in many forms. Sponsoring waters, coffee, tea, snacks for veterans and the staff supporting them at events- it all goes a long way in making it all more grounding.
Manufacturers, distributors and retailers all dedicate time and resources to transporting, storing and issuing donations to patients. Additionally, WFW Cannabis products are now available for purchase in some retail locations – the goal being to create enough revenue that WFWP can support the systems that support the mission.
Any strategic partners/allies of your cause that you want to highlight?
WFW: We want to thank the veteran patients for continuing to be flexible as we’ve worked hard to make and keep medicine accessible. Over the years, many veterans have helped support the mission through volunteering their time and energy to help us be in more places at once. Those continued sacrifices are not unappreciated or unnoticed.
WFWP would like to show appreciation for all levels of support we’ve received from operators in the cannabis industry. The People’s Remedy in Modesto, who hosted the first WFWP SB34 event in early 2020, as well as AHHS, California Street Cannabis, Cali Kosher, Cake House, Cannabist, Catalyst, Culture, Elevate, Embarc, Grupo Flor, March and Ash, Metro, Natural Healing Centers, Perfect Union, The Sanctuary, Project Cannabis and more – not to mention other level operators like brands, manufacturers and distributors.
What are the future plans for the group?
WFW: We will continue to support multiple monthly SB-34 events throughout California, as well as supporting veterans on their journeys with post service recovery through things like claims assistance, healthcare management, resources and Peer Support Groups.
With the goal of continuing to be 100% free to veteran patients, and to elevate our fight nationally, we launched WFW Cannabis as a way for people to support our efforts. Purchasing WFW cannabis products at your local dispensary, helps us self-finance our mission statement and hopefully eventually expand to serve all veterans – nationwide, and eventually worldwide. We appreciate ALL the dispensaries who are carrying our products and helping give consumers affordable, quality medicine.
If you would like to learn even more about Weed for Warriors Project, check out this profile we did on them as part of our Cannabis Trailblazers Series.
Enjoyed that first hit? Come chill with us every week at the Friday Sesh for a freshly packed bowl of the week’s best cannabis news!
One Love 💚
One love 💚
Nice photo with Bacteria Bear. Who’s the suit?