If you have read any of the recent news stories, you’ve probably heard about a disabled Iraq war veteran who is facing five years in prison for legally obtaining medical marijuana. Unfortunately, that story has a dark underside. It highlights how different states have different marijuana laws. While recreational use of marijuana is legal in 11 states and 33 jurisdictions, possession of two ounces or less is still illegal. If you’re a Black veteran and have been prescribed medical marijuana, you may be wondering how he got into this predicament in the first place.
The situation was made all the more horrifying when an officer caught Worsley driving through Alabama with medical marijuana in his vehicle. Worsley was in a car and had forgotten that it’s illegal in Alabama, where it’s still illegal autopilot xxl to carry it. The officer spotted the cannabis in Worsley’s car and he spent six days in jail. The arrest sparked a long legal battle, and Worsley ended up in homeless shelter and owes thousands of dollars in legal fees.
The district attorney’s office in Alabama hasn’t responded to APR’s multiple requests for comment. Hamlin, the district attorney, defended Worsley’s decision to imprison Worsley by citing his previous marijuana possession convictions. Both the Alabama Attorney General’s office and the Gordo police department have not responded to repeated requests for comment. But the family of Sean Worsley is holding a GoFundMe page to raise funds for the cause. The arrest is being held up by COVID-19, the legislation that prevented the passage of an Alabama medical marijuana law. On March 13, the state Senate passed the Compassion Act, which would allow doctors to prescribe cannabis and create a licensed dispensary in the county.
Earlier this year, a Senate committee hearing in Alabama heard testimony from the Vietnam war veteran Michael Krawitz. During that hearing, Roth presented statistics that showed how many veterans commit suicide. The veteran, along with other veterans, testified about how dozens of prescription medications failed to curb his suicidal thoughts. The legislation passed unanimously. This is a win for veterans and their families.
Worsley, a homeless Iraq war veteran from Alabama, has served nearly 10 months in jail for possession of a small amount of medical marijuana. But he was unable to pay his $250 renewal fee, and the state court revoked his probation. Six months later, he was arrested in Arizona on felony charges of marijuana possession. His arrest in Arizona was the result of a traffic stop, and the police found marijuana in Worsley’s possession without a medical marijuana card. After the arrest, Worsley was taken back to Pickens County, Alabama, where he is awaiting his sentencing. Currently, he is appealing his sentence, but his case is far from over.
While incarcerated in Alabama, Sean Worsley and his wife, Eboni, have set up a GoFundMe page to raise funds for his defense. He has been prescribed medical marijuana for the treatment of seizures and other medical conditions. The wife worried about his PTSD, but she told the police that he was taking marijuana for medical reasons. She was worried about his life and his treatment.
The DAV has called for more research on the benefits of medical cannabis for veterans. Veterans who find it helpful say it helps them cope with chronic pain. But the legal status of marijuana has changed drastically in the last two decades. In many states, the government has loosened restrictions on its use for medical purposes. However, the DAV has urged the VA to legalize medical cannabis in order to ensure that veterans can access the medicine they need for their condition.
When his benefits were reinstated, Sean and Eboni had no place to live. Eventually, they had to move to Arizona because Eboni needed a heart surgery. However, while they were in Arizona, Sean was arrested and convicted of possessing cannabis despite not having a medical marijuana card. This was a probation violation and Pickens County demanded extradition. Since then, he has been stuck in the jail and unable to update his medical marijuana card.
A federal law passed in 2017 would make it legal for the VA to prescribe marijuana to veterans in states with medical cannabis programs. However, the Department of Veterans Affairs would still have to conduct research on how veterans click to find out more use medicinal cannabis before prescribing it to them. A lawyer with Krieg DeVault LLP could help the disabled veteran fight the charges against him. That is the only way to ensure that he gets the treatment he needs.