• Buds For Vets: Helping Jacksonville area veterans get easier access to medical marijuana

    By: Jamarlo Phillips , Action News Jax

    Updated:

    JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - A local charity wants military veterans in our area to have easy access to medical marijuana.

    Buds for Vets has helped more than 500 veterans get medical marijuana cards. 

    The Department of Veterans Affairs reports between 11 and 20 percent of Iraq War vets suffer from Pst-traumatic stress disorder.

    Action News Jax Jamarlo Phillips met a local veteran who says medical marijuana has changed his life for the better and he believes more vets should have access to it.


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    Ryan Healy served more than a year in Afghanistan 

    Healy now uses medical marijuana for his PTSD.

    “When I first came home the doctors put me on 12 different pill medications and my quality of life was miserable,” Healy added.

    Healy said he called Buds for Vets last year for help navigating the often-confusing process of getting a medical marijuana card.

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    “It’s been a life-changer for me,” said Healy.

    The founder of the charity says the organization has already helped 548 veterans across Northeast Florida get their cards.

    Tyler Hayden, who manages a dispensary on Hendricks Avenue in downtown Jacksonville, said the process to get a medical marijuana card can be expensive.  

    “Right now, there is an epidemic going on with veterans, the homeless population is rising and on top of that suicide rates are through the roof right now and largely we attribute that to the lack of support from the government,” Hayden added.

    It’s something Healy hopes will soon change.

    “I wonder to this day if those 10 friends of mine, if they had access to medical cannabis if they would still be here? Because I am,” Healy said. 

    Because marijuana is still considered illegal by the federal government, the VA says it can’t recommend or help veterans get access to medical marijuana.

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