Canadian veterans who use medical marijuana to help their PTSD are concerned about potential cuts to the government program. Pictured: Packaging for medical marijuana. (Jennifer Peltz, The Associated Press)

Canadian vet on 750-mile walk to protest cuts to medical marijuana treatment

Fabian Henry was walking on the side of the road one day in late March when a van pulled up alongside him. A Canadian military veteran on a 750-mile walk to protest cuts to the government’s medical marijuana program, Henry was nearing the end of his day. He had walked more than 10 miles and it was snowing heavily.

The driver of the van was a military veteran, and they ended up having a 15-minute conversation about Henry’s journey from Oromocto (home of Canadian Forces Base Gagetown) to Ottawa. They also talked about the van driver’s own personal situation. He was suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), and Henry counselled him on the military’s monetary-entitlement programs and the potential medical benefits of cannabis.

“[The military is] not proactive in telling you what you’re entitled to… and he knew nothing about cannabis, and he’s on pharmaceuticals that just don’t work for PTSD,” says Henry, the founder of Marijuana For Trauma, a veteran owned-and-operated company that helps people suffering from PTSD. It also provides guidance and advice to veterans trying to access programs and entitlements through Veterans Affairs Canada.

Henry’s journey as a cannabis advocate began a decade ago with the events that led to him developing PTSD himself. An Army engineer, he was on a mission in Afghanistan and mapping routes where military convoys might encounter land-mines. There was a communication breakdown between Henry and another soldier relaying information about safe routes, and a military vehicle ran over a mine that exploded and killed two men.

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