On March 25, the Veterans Cannabis Project launched a website for Massachusetts veterans to raise concerns about a lack of access to marijuana shops. They decided to take this strategy after an order by Governor Charlie Baker shut down all the recreational dispensaries in the state as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The new site, mass.vetscp.org, has a call to action. It is asking supporters and veterans to email Baker and the state lawmakers requesting that recreational marijuana shops be allowed to open.
Baker told residents this week to remain in their homes, ordering that all non-essential businesses close. Although the licensed medical dispensaries are considered as essential services and can remain open, the governor ordered that all recreational marijuana shops shut their doors. The state Cannabis Control Commission issued cease and desist letters.
The Veterans Cannabis Project executive director, Doug Distaso, said:
“Our nation’s heroes deserve full access to the legal marijuana treatment options they rely on for medical care. Denying access for veterans, including those who are disabled and are regularly prohibited from obtaining medical marijuana cards, is unnecessarily prohibitive for vets who depend on cannabis to help cope with physical and psychological injuries sustained on the battlefield.”
The request for marijuana shops to remain open
In their statement, the Veterans Cannabis Project applauded Baker and the entire state leadership for ensuring that the medical marijuana shops will remain open. The veterans agree that it is crucial to maintain public health and safety in this crisis, and everyone needs to play their part to keep their neighborhoods safe. Distaso said:
“However, cannabis is essential to the veteran communities who rely on it as a treatment option, and denying access could cause them to seek treatment from dangerous products on the illicit market, or worse, return to opioid use.”
As of March 25, 15, Massachusetts residents had died from illnesses related to COVID-19, with a further 1,838 already tested positive.