Medical Marijuana Legalized For Veterans Suffering From PTSD - WLNS TV 6 Lansing - Jackson | Your Local News Leader

Medical Marijuana Legalized For Veterans Suffering From PTSD

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LANSING, MI (WLNS) - The issue of medical marijuana is one that's been sparking a lot of attention lately.

Recently the State Director of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs decided veterans suffering from PTSD were eligible for medical marijuana cards.

But as 6 News Reporter Joe Khalil reports, in some cases if a veteran were to use medical marijuana they could lose some veteran benefits.

"It was shortly after we came home, I started noticing something was different," said Dakota Serna.

Home from Iraq that is, Dakota Serna served a tour as a rifleman in the armed forces back in 2004.

"I haven't had a good night of sleep probably since I was there. Waking up in a cold sweat, sometimes I'm screaming, sometimes I'm crying. I've woken up searching for my weapon," said Dakota Serna, Iraq War Veteran.

Serna is one of thousands of veterans suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.

He says transitioning back to normal life was impossible, that is until he found marijuana.

"I started smoking cannabis and almost overnight the quality of life was lifted," recalls Serna.

Recently a state board decided veterans like Serna can now smoke marijuana legally for PTSD.

But the state's veteran treatment court, which helps veterans who get in trouble with the law or drugs might not be so permitting.

"The use of medical marijuana in these types of programs, it really is ultimately up to the team and often times the judge," said Dana Graham, State court Administrative Office.

Dana Graham, an official with the state court system says veteran court tailors probation programs to veterans needs.

"So if a judge who's working with a veteran on probation says no medical marijuana, much like alcohol even though its legal, they still wont be able to use it," said Graham.

"My assumption is that most of them are restricting the use of medical marijuana."

If they continue to use pot, veterans like Serna would ultimately forfeit their veteran court privileges, should they need them.

Officials tell 6 News veterans would not lose their VA benefits if they begin using medical marijuana to treat PTSD.

But if they end up in a VA hospital the drug will not be permitted there.

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