Free Weed For Veterans
Many are surprised to learn that Alaskans gained the right to use medical marijuana in 1997 — 18 years ago. Even more surprising is that despite Alaska’s long-standing legalization of medical cannabis, there are still no state-licensed dispensaries. On top of that, the state only recognizes six diseases as qualifying for medical treatment with cannabis. In short, it’s difficult to get medical herb in Alaska, despite the laws. In response to this asymmetry, several nonprofit groups are stepping up. They have started delivering free cannabis to veterans and patients in need. It’s like the weed version of Meals on Wheels.
One of the groups has taken to calling themselves the Alaska Green Angels, which was co-founded by Darby Andrews, and two others. They’re taking the “crowd-sourcing” phenomenon and adapting it to medical cannabis. Green Angels, a Facebook group that delivers pot to “angels in need,” is an interactive group that connects those in need with those that have and want to share.
Andrews cited the lack of dispensaries and lack of doctors willing to prescribe MMJ as roadblocks to patients in need of medical marijuana.
“It’s like said ‘sure, go ahead, you can have it but you can’t buy it, sell it, or transport it,’” said Andrews. “It’s just supposed to magically appear.”
The premise of Green Angels is simple: post a need for cannabis and one of the group’s 400 members will respond and deliver it, free of charge. At first, Andrews and the other founders were the primary donors and only catered to a small group they knew personally. They couldn’t foresee that in just one year, the operation would take on “a life of its own.”
The effort is a group collaboration. A crew of about 10 people work on cultivating strains of medical cannabis, while other volunteers provide technology, equipment, or raw materials for making edibles. The Green Angels aren’t the first group to attempt to provide medical marijuana for Alaska’s veterans and the sick.
In previous years, other Alaskan groups offered technically “free” pot, but required a donation. Since they were accepting money in exchange for “free” weed, they violated Alaska’s medical cannabis laws, prompting authorities to shut them down. The Green Angels, by contrast, have eliminated the issue of monetary exchange.
Dakota Davis, a Navy veteran honorably discharged due to Crohn’s disease, received his first free cannabis from a stranger who responded to his post. Davis, 26, had never used pot before; he didn’t like the “black market thing,” he told the Alaska Dispatch, until he got connected with the Alaska Green Angels. “These guys have been helping me out tremendously,” said Davis who uses cannabis to alleviate nausea brought on by chemotherapy he undergoes for Crohn’s.