TAMPA, FL (WFLA) – Steps away from MacDill Air Force Base, runners hit the pavement in support of veterans legally being allowed to use medical marijuana to ease PTSD. Organizers boast it’s “Florida’s first-ever Cannabis-centered 5K run/walk.”
The Florida Cannabis Coalition hosted the event at Gasden Park. The organization “promotes the legalization of Cannabis as a medication for multiple debilitating disorders.” Peter Sessa, CEO of the organization, understands people don’t usually correlate running with cannabis.
“Cannabis when used for medical reasons can be part of a healthy lifestyle,” Sessa said. “It’s not necessarily an alternative to tobacco and alcohol as it usually gets lumped in but it’s part of a healthy lifestyle just like 5Ks are. We want to generate that kind of awareness.”
Cannabis is illegal in Florida right now. A low grade THC medical marijuana is allowed for certain illnesses. Among the dozens of runners at Cannathon, Eric Nograles, who believes medical marijuana might have helped some of his family members.
“I’ve had relatives who have gone through difficult therapies in cancer and that would have been the perfect use,” Nograles said. “It would have been a better quality of life and frankly a cheaper option.”
News Channel 8 contacted the James A. Haley Veteran’s Hospital in Tampa. The spokesperson sent back a national statements regarding medical marijuana and PTSD, “Programs that authorize medical use of marijuana exist in a number of states and the District of Columbia, as marijuana use is still a federal offense VA can not provide for use regardless of state laws. However, patients who choose to participate in a non-VA marijuana programs will not be denied access to care for most clinical programs but should be assessed for misuse, adverse effects, and withdrawal.”
Florida farmers are now vying for the chance to grow medical marijuana. 28 applicants throughout the state applied for just five slots for licensed growers.The Department of Health will be making their decision on the five licensed growers in about three months.
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