VNR Director Matt Kahl to Speak Before Task Force on Medical Cannabis

Matt Kahl is a nationally renowned medical cannabis expert, and an Afghanistan war veteran who now fights for American citizen’s right to use cannabinoid medicine. 

Tennessee’s medical cannabis supporters will be extremely grateful to hear that Safe Access Tennessee is bringing him to Nashville to give testimony before the Legislative Task Force on Medical Cannabis on October 26th……….he knows what he’s talking about.

Matt is a veteran of the 101st Airborne Division, 1/506 Infantry Regiment who did two tours to Afghanistan and left once by medevac.

He is now the Executive Director at Veterans for Natural Rights, as well as an Urban Agricultural Representative for the Pesticides Advisory committee at the Colorado Department of Agriculture.
He’s also support for Dad’s for Marijuana International.

Tennessee NORML spoke with Matt, and we asked him to tell us what got him started in medical cannabis activism.

He said, “The drugs the doctors put me on after I returned home destroyed my life, and indeed almost caused me to lose it. It’s not a life anyone wants to live, being overmedicated. At one point, my liver failed from overload of the amount of medications prescribed to me, and at another point I attempted suicide due to the side effects. I knew something had to change. I decided to emigrate to Colorado, and I became a medical refugee in my own country.”

When asked how Veterans for Natural Rights got started, he replied “A year and a half after arriving, I was pharmaceutical-free myself, and I had started caring for other veterans that were caught in the same personal hell………a hell I’d been sentenced to, but thankfully escaped with the help of medical cannabis. 

I gave away free cannabis to anyone who needed it, and I advised them on how to go about using it to heal themselves.

In 2014, I obtained one of the first research & development hemp licenses in the country, and I began to experiment with the growing and use of a variety of minor cannabinoids to treat myself, naturally and nontoxically. ”

We asked Matt to tell us a bit about his organization, Veterans for Natural Rights, and it’s mission. He stated “My organization’s mission is to build communities where veterans can heal, find their voice, and change the world. We actively lobby on a variety of issues, and teach other veterans to do the same. Our philosophy is simple: Freedom, equally, for everyone.”

Matt told us why he is traveling here on behalf of Safe Access Tennessee and testifying before the Tennessee legislative task force on medical cannabis:
“I volunteered to serve for one reason: to support and defend the Constitution of the United States against ALL enemies, foreign AND domestic. No one relieved me of that oath.

The Declaration of Independence set forth the governing principles by which the Constitution was drafted. That ALL men are created equal, that they have the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Americans have been systematically stripped of these rights over the previous couple hundred years. It’s time we took them back.

The Constitution was designed to be a check on government power, not on the rights of individuals. The 9th Amendment to the Constitution spells it out: “The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.”

The government has overstepped its bounds by outlawing nature. Nature is not a crime, and no one in America is free so long as nature is illegal. A person’s life and health should not be dependent upon their zip code. We were all born with the innate ability, the right to stick a seed in the ground and watch it grow. We were given this sacred gift by our Creator, and no earthly power may lawfully take it away. The government has denied nature and God, and it’s time to recognize the right of every individual in America to grow the foods and medicines they need for their health and well-being.

Hippocrates, the founder of western medicine and originator of the Hippocratic Oath said, “Any man who is not his own doctor is a fool.” He also said “Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.” It is a strong admonition from the ancients to grow plant medicines and treat yourself with them.

This plant can heal people. It has helped me come off of a staggering number of pills prescribed to me in the wake of a medevac from theater of operations in Afghanistan. Pharmaceuticals shut down my liver and started to kill my kidneys. The side effects made me want to die. I am lucky to be alive, and it is all thanks to a lowly plant. This is no placebo effect. But whether or not you agree with its medical efficacy, you cannot deny the freedoms we are guaranteed by our founding documents.

I offered up my life to my country for the principle of individual freedom, and I cannot turn my back on it now that it needs me again, now more than ever. I will testify wherever I am called to, because there are veteran brothers and sisters dying all across this nation, to the tune of 20+ a day.

Many people know that number, but what many don’t realize is that more than 121 American citizens succumb to the scourge of suicide every single day. Veterans aren’t the only ones with PTSD issues, civilians commit suicide from it daily as well. That’s an epidemic, and it is unacceptable. Even one person dying afraid and alone is one too many. This is America. We can do better. We have to do better.

That being said, veterans are the poster children for PTSD issues, and thus it is our job to speak with authority now, to tell our government that everyone needs access to this plant if they can at all be helped by it.

It is remarkably safe, safer than most any other drug in the entire pharmacopeia, legal or illegal. Cannabis is less addictive than coffee and it’s NEVER killed anyone by overdose in the history of mankind.
It has certainly improved my quality of life, and outlook on life. I actually want to live now, for the first time since the medevac. I’m coming to Tennessee to speak for the veterans and civilians who are still too hurt, too afraid, and too isolated to speak up for themselves. We all need access, and we need it now. Lives are on the line. We have two choices, we can step up, or we can step down. I choose to step up. Who will stand with me?”

Tennessee NORML certainly stands with Matt and Safe Access Tennessee in the fight for all American’s freedom to use medical cannabis. We would also like to thank him for his prior military service to our country, and we gratefully thank him for coming here and testifying on behalf of all the suffering and dying Tennesseans who need legal access to medical cannabis.

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