PFC Jared Hunter’s Unfortunate Choice

   

Military vets (and their families) sacrifice so much for our country. While we may not support every military action that our nation engages in, we must remember that service members don’t choose their battles, they are sent to war by civilian politicians. Our soldiers have to face the horrors of war, terrible events that would cause any sane person post-traumatic stress.

Miami Herald Columnist Leonard Pitts, Jr., reported on the plight of Private First Class Jared Hunter, as he battled PTSD, and found relief from medical marijuana:

Marijuana had saved him. Then, last year, police came to his door. He still has no idea who tipped them off. They arrested him and confiscated marijuana plants he says he was growing for his own use. Hunter found himself facing five years in prison. Prosecutors offered a deal: Plead guilty and accept probation. He refused. He didn’t want to be branded a criminal and stripped of his civil rights.

But last week, he accepted a new offer. It requires him to pay court costs and costs of prosecution, amounting to less than $1,000. His record will show not a conviction, but a withhold of adjudication — essentially, a judicial get-out-of-jail-free card that leaves his civil rights intact.

One is glad Hunter’s legal travails have come to such a favorable end. But who’s to say the next person in his position will be as fortunate? More to the point, we should be appalled this sort of thing is even possible, that a veteran can be threatened with prison because he used the only effective treatment for a wound incurred in the service of his country.

A United States military veteran commits suicide every 65 minutes. Let’s not just thank our veterans.This is a national outrage that needs to stop. Medical cannabis has helped many people overcome post-traumatic stress, whether from the battlefield or from other traumatic events.  We must hold our politicians accountable and ensure that our veterans have every opportunity to heal from all of the wounds of war.

Anthony Johnson

Anthony, a longtime cannabis law reform advocate, was Chief Petitioner and co-author of Measure 91, Oregon's cannabis legalization effort. He served as director of both the New Approach Oregon and Vote Yes on 91 PACs, the political action committees responsible for the state's legalization campaign. As director of New Approach Oregon, Anthony continues to work towards effectively implementing the cannabis legalization system while protecting small business owners and the rights of patients. He sits on the Oregon Marijuana Rules Advisory Committee and fights for sensible rules at the legislature as well as city councils and county commissions across the state. Anthony helps cannabis business comply with Oregon's laws and advises advocates across the country. He also serves as content director of both the International Cannabis Business Conference and the Oregon Marijuana Business Conference, helping share the vision of moving the cannabis industry forward in a way that maintains the focus on keeping people out of prison and protecting patients. He was a member of the Oregon Health Authority Rules Advisory Committee, assisting the drafting of the administrative rules governing Oregon’s state-licensed medical marijuana facilities. He first co-authored and helped pass successful marijuana law reform measures while a law student at the University of Missouri-Columbia School of Law. He passed the Oregon Bar in 2005 and practiced criminal defense for two years before transitioning to working full-time in the political advocacy realm. His blogs on Marijuana Politics are personal in nature and don't speak for or reflect the opinions of any group or organization.