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The Veterans Alliance for Holistic Alternatives (VAHA) is asking for your help to legalize medical cannabis in North Carolina for those in need. We’re looking for veterans, spouses of veterans, and/or family members of veterans who have witnessed and/or personally experienced the medical efficacy of cannabis.

Veteran Community In A Crisis

667,000 veterans in North Carolina according to the most recent American Community Survey in 2019

1/3 of the veteran community suffers from Multiple Chronic Conditions (MCC)

The veteran suicide rate in North Carolina is 2.4 times higher than the national average

In the last 20 years of conflict, we have lost just over 7,000 service members in combat.
In that same period of time, we have lost over 120,000 veterans to suicide.

North Carolina loses 9 residents a day to opioid and drug overdoses.

In North Carolina, a veteran commits suicide every 1.5 days

VAHA In Action

VAHA Executive Director Gary Hess testifies in front of NC Senate committee on behalf of SB 711

SB 711 Full Testimony (June 2021) - North Carolina Compassionate Care Act

Veterans meet with lawmakers on medical marijuana

Veterans and others plead with NC lawmakers to legalize medical marijuana

Veterans push gains national attention

Veterans push for medical marijuana in conservative South

North Carolina Compassionate Care Act.

The Veterans Alliance for Holistic Alternatives (VAHA) is asking for your help to legalize medical cannabis in North Carolina for those in need.

VAHA Joins National Cannabis Roundtable

VAHA’s Executive Director Gary Hess was invited to be a member of the National Cannabis Roundtable.

Marijuana Moment

VAHA teamed up with Dr. Sue Sisley of SRI to file legislation against the United Stated Attorney General and Drug Enforcement Agency to remove cannabis as a Schedule 1 narcotic.

Josh Biddix Testimony in Support of SB 711

SB 711 Full Testimony (June 2021) - North Carolina Compassionate Care Act

North Carolina Compassionate Care Act

North Carolina Veterans Unite for Medical Cannabis Debate VAHA-NC to amplify voices, work for passage of SB711

Veterans Urge Action by the GOP Support Consideration of the NCCCA by the Full House

Raleigh, NC – The Veterans Alliance for Holistic Alternatives of North Carolina (VAHA-NC) is calling on members of the Republican Caucus of the North Carolina House of Representatives to vote in favor of moving the North Carolina Compassionate Care Act to consideration by the full body.


Below you will find a rundown of some of VAHA-NC’s key supporters and advocates. These are men and women who gave themselves to the service of our country willingly. They entered the military knowing and accepting there would be injury and possibly death. They risked themselves for their nation and the free world and believed that–should they survive–their government would honor their sacrifices by taking good care of them. Instead, they were fed addictive pills and medicines with side-effects that eventually gave rise to new conditions and did nothing to heal the old ones. Through luck and grace, they found their ways to medical cannabis.


Understanding the necessity and urgency of VAHA’s mission. The long-term pharmaceutical-based treatments for physical and mental health conditions continue to have severe negative impacts. This strategy is largely responsible for the decline in overall health, increased substance abuse, and an ever-increasing suicide rate among our communities.  The time for change is now.

Why Medical Cannabis Is Necessary
In North Carolina

Proven Medical Efficacy – Over 30,000 peer-reviewed studies on Plant Medicine

The positive anecdotal response of the veteran and patient community cannot be ignored any longer

Safe Access – Allows patients to access medicine safely from a regulated medical dispensary instead of the black market

Not a Gateway Drug, It is an exit drug – In medically legal states opioid prescriptions have been reduced by over 30% in the first year.

Mental Health Needs – Proven as an adjunct therapy to facilitate recovery and post-traumatic growth

Plant Medicine brings balance to our essential functions – Eating, Sleeping, Digestion, Arousal, Memory and Emotion

Opiate-sparing Properties – Plant Medicine is proving to be an exit drug for those who become addicted to the pharmaceuticals prescribed by their own physicians

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More Info / Q&A

  • North Carolina is one of only 13 states that does not allow the medical use of Plant Medicine. Veterans and others who are faced with chronic conditions, terminal illnesses, epilepsy, autism, and many others are still forced to become criminals in their own state to access a natural plant medicine that works.
  • Veterans, medical professionals and many other patients are pleading with North Carolina lawmakers to put an end to this injustice and pass the N.C. Compassionate Care Act and provide the medical freedom that it’s constituents deserve.
  • The N.C. Compassionate Care Act (SB 711), is sponsored by Sen. Bill Rabon (R), Sen. Michael Lee (R), and Sen. Paul Lowe (D). It would allow individuals with qualifying debilitating medical conditions to register to use and safely access medical cannabis through a regulated medical cannabis supply system.

Qualifying conditions are cancer, epilepsy, positive status for human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS), amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), Crohn’s disease, sickle cell anemia, Parkinson’s disease, post-traumatic stress disorder, multiple sclerosis, cachexia or wasting syndrome, severe or persistent nausea in a person who is not pregnant that is related to end of life or hospice care, or who is bedridden or homebound because of a condition, a terminal illness when the patient’s remaining life expectancy is less than six months, and any other serious medical condition or its treatment added by the Medical Cannabis Advisory Board.

This will be required in North Carolina’s Compassionate Care Act, SB711, which makes access for those in need incredibly safe. Unlike what North Carolinians are being forced to buy off of the street, A Certificate of Analysis (CoA) is a document provided by a third-party lab that analyses the various compounds found in your plant medicine. You can also find other information in a COA such as manufacturer information, testing method used, and batch data.

  • It has proven very quickly to be an ‘exit’ drug, and veterans and North Carolinians have and continue to use plant medicine to remove themselves from the addiction and substance abuse.
  • States with active medical medicine laws continue to see opioid prescription rates drop nearly 20 percent compared to prohibition states, a first-of-its-kind study out of Columbia University’s Irving Medical Center has found. Authors said the findings underscore the importance of providing patients with pain management alternatives, such as plant medicine, in efforts to reduce opioid use.
  1. Pharmaceutical Strategy Avoids the Healing Process – The Western model of medicine through is pharmaceutical strategy, at best, numbs the symptoms, and avoids the healing process. Trauma is not what happens to us, but what remains inside of us in the absence of an empathetic witness. Trauma is the painful, unprocessed emotion that we do not have a file folder for. In order to heal, we must turn the trauma into words. We must sit within the painful emotion and do intentional work to retrain and reshape our perspective. The pharmaceutical overload in an attempt to treat each symptom does not facilitate a healing process, instead, it stimulates avoidance behaviour that leads to degrading health, isolation, and eventually suicide.
  2. Consumption of Plant Medicine Reverses the Effects of Trauma on our Brain, facilitates homeostatic balance within our neurological and physiological systems, and enhances the neuroplastic properties of the brain that allow for intentional work and promotes safety learning. In short, within each of our brains, we have 2 brains that, under normal conditions, work together by communicating and integrating processes that generate our thoughts, emotions, and behaviors. Our animal brain (subconscious survival brain) and Human brain (conscious, logical, decision-making brain) talk back and forth when assessing our environment to determine whether or not situations are safe. During traumatic events, when the stress response is activated, the animal brain takes over and stops talking to the human brain, which changes the ways our body functions. For those of us who suffer from PTSD, our brains are stuck in that stress response, which is how we perceive and live everyday life. Everything is processed and treated as a threat, creating significant imbalances in our neurological and physiological processes that manifest themselves as chronic conditions. To keep it simple, when plant medicine is introduced into our bodies, it turns the stress response off and allows our 2 brains to start talking again. This is absolutely necessary to treat, process, and overcome trauma.
  3. To Effectively Treat Trauma, We Must Bring Balance to Our Primal Functions Plant Medicine brings homeostatic balance to our primal functions: appetite, digestion, reproduction, memory, emotions, and sleep. This sets the stage for intentional work to retrain, reshape, and remove the traumatic lens that leads to maladaptive behaviors. Bringing balance to these primal, or essential functions is absolutely necessary to effectively treat trauma. And yes, the science is there to prove this!
  4. Plant Medicine brings homeostatic balance to our primal functions: appetite, digestion, reproduction, memory, emotions, and sleep. This sets the stage for intentional work to retrain, reshape, and remove the traumatic lens that leads to maladaptive behaviors. Bringing balance to these primal, or essential functions is absolutely necessary to effectively treat trauma. And yes, the science is there to prove this!

In 36 other states veterans are voting with their feet and turning to ‘Plant Medicine’. Medical programs have proven safe when well-regulated and frees veterans to consult with their own physician about their own health outcomes.

  1. High blood pressure, heart problems, Suicidal thoughts, Anxiety, Depression, Rapid Heartbeat, memory problems, Loss of appetite, difficulty sleeping, Irritability, anxiety, anger, inability to concentrate, confusion, dizziness, slurred speech, muscle weakness, death.
  2. Stimulants – High blood pressure and heart problems, difficulty sleeping, decreased appetite, hyperarousal (nervousness and irritability), anxiety
  3. Antidepressants – Common side effect irritability and anger
  4. Anti-Anxiety medications Overdose can be fatal. Common side effects – drowsiness, confusion, dizziness, slurred speech, muscle, weakness, memory problems, nausea (feeling sick), dry mouth, blurred vision, etc..
  5. Sleep Medication (Ambien) – Overdose can be fatal. Common side effects – Memory loss, Depression, Suicidal thoughts, Anxiety, Rapid heartbeat, Nausea, Vomiting, Diarrhea, Loss of appetite, Impaired vision, Slow breathing rates, Inability to concentrate, Disorientation, Emotional blunting, Nightmares, Sedation, Confusion, Aggression, Addiction, etc…
  6. Opioids for pain management. Overdose can be fatal. Side effects – anxiety, depression, irritability, memory loss, etc…

There has been no lethal dose found for medicine. Plant Medicine actually has no effect on our breathing modulation, unlike opioids, which makes it impossible to overdose, yet our medical professionals are still prescribing the same medications these men and women are taking their life with.

  • Our logo and our colors are intentional. They represent the law enforcement community, which is one of our biggest adversaries in plant medicine legalization, but at the same time, are affected mentally and physically in the same way as Veterans of the military. The irony is that the men and women who make up their ranks throughout this nation are the ones who will need plant medicine the most after years of service. After years of seeing and dealing with the ‘problems of humanity’ on a daily basis, they are the largest professional community affected by PTSD and mental health, yet continue to stigmatize and fight against the legalization of plant medicine. Our logo and colors are meant to symbolically wrap our arms around the law enforcement and first response communities as they kick and scream in an effort to deter our efforts. “You hate us, but we will still be here when you need us most; because you most certainly will.” It’s not if, it is when. We will be here waiting.
  • Important Note: According to the Department of Veterans Affairs, an estimated 65% of veterans suffer from chronic pain and are twice as likely to die from an accidental prescription opioid overdose as non-veterans. As such, many veterans are looking for alternatives to highly addictive and potentially dangerous opioid medications.