Texas Senator hoping to legalize medical marijuana for veterans with PTSD
Amanda Berard was a combat medic in the Army.
She says she's been suffering from PTSD related to military sexual trauma.
"I avoided it for a long time. I didn't tell anybody. I didn't talk about the assaults that happened when I was in the military. I literally avoided it," Berard said.
The VA recommended her to psychologists who just wanted to medicate her.
"Since then I've been put on 2 anti-depressants. I have medicine to help me sleep. I have medication to treat the side effects of the medications that I'm on so I probably have 7 or 8 medications that I have to take," Berard said.
Berard is a graduate student at the University of North Texas. She's been researching the effectiveness of Cannabis in PTSD -- she started the work before she knew she was suffering from it.
When she was having a particularly rough time with her PTSD, Berard says she tried medical marijuana while in Colorado.
"The difference is just it's night and day. It was the first time in 10 years that I felt like I could sleep, that I didn't wake up crying, that I felt like I could go out...that I could just be normal," Berard said.
This week, Democratic Senator Jose Menendez filed Senate Bill 269. The legislation would increase the number of medical conditions that qualify for the Texas Compassionate Use program, allowing patients who suffer from PTSD to access Cannabis with the help of their doctor.
"I mean this is a bipartisan issue. So I really hope that there will be some progress," she said.
Progress is what Michael Cargill is hoping to achieve as well. You may recognize him as "local gun advocate Michael Cargill" --- but now he's also the Executive Director of Texans for Accountable Government. He says it's about time we focus on our veterans.
"They have gone out and stood up for this country, for this state. And now they're in need of our help. And with the medical marijuana, this is just one little thing that we can do as a state to help the citizens that have fought for us," Cargill said.
But the task may be difficult. Last session Governor Greg Abbott signed a bill into law allowing people suffering from intractable Epilepsy to use Cannabis oil.
"That said, Texas is not going to become a state that either legalizes marijuana or medicinal marijuana," Abbott told us at the time.
"It's definitely going to be difficult. By looking at just what happened last session, it's going to be an uphill battle. But we're definitely going to come together, we're going to bring people together that have never talked to one another," Cargill said.