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Eryck Stamper retired from the US Navy in 2013 as a decorated Senior Chief Petty Officer. After a few jobs in the Maryland Park Service and government contracting, he found his way into the cannabis industry as a budtender. He later founded Veterans Initiative 22, a Maryland based nonprofit organization that focuses on improving veteran’s mental health through medical cannabis advocacy, in October of 2017. Eryck also founded the Maryland Hemp Exchange which seeks to help convert farmers from traditional crops like corn or soybeans to grow industrial hemp. This is Eryck’s story:
Hello My name is Eryck Stamper. I am a 23 year Navy Veteran suffering from multiple physical ailments such as carpal tunnel syndrome, dehydrated discs, ongoing medium to severe back pain, never-ending debilitating gastrointestinal concerns, and an enlarged prostate. Sadly, I have been diagnosed with mental health concerns like depression and anxiety and I am currently being evaluated for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) which only continues to compound my personal and physical suffering. I have had countless visits, tests, exams, and evaluations with VA hospital Doctors, with ongoing mental health appointments with various forms of treatment options. Some treatments throughout my history have included an arsenal of prescribed medications. Many of these pharmaceuticals come with their own risks to mind, body, and spirit. There are fears of addiction to some. At times they even made my symptoms worse or brought me closer to the edge of self harm.
My life changed once I learned more about the healing benefits of medical cannabis. With further self exploration and more formal education and training, I learned how I could actually begin to heal myself with cannabis without the support and help of the VA. It immediately started changing my life for the better. I minimized and removed myself from almost all of my Doctor prescribed medications that were making me feel worse. Currently VA Doctors and medical practitioners are prevented from recommending medical cannabis to Veterans suffering and in need.
I strongly recommend you support Americans for Safe Access ensuring the Biden-Harris Can Do It: No Patient Left Behind to take action now to urge VA Secretary McDonough to allow VA doctors to recommend cannabis to those Veterans who are suffering.
Thank you for doing your part to make sure all patients have safe access to effective, affordable, and quality medical cannabis.
“Without A Doubt, Cannabis is My Lifesaver!”
Eryck Stamper, USN (Ret.)
Veterans Initiative 22