Dave Bass

David Bass Interview:

“Texas Veterans for Medical Marijuana”

   Welcome back to the last issue of the Twenty22Many Veteran Chronicles for 2020. Definitely
a year we are all looking forward to being over. This December the Veteran Chronicles is
traveling down south for its first interview in the great state of Texas. You can’t get more south
than Texas and we are pleased to welcome Army Veteran (Officer) David Bass. David Bass is
a Iraq combat veteran who served in the U.S. military with pride a distinction for 25 years. Not
only is David a military veteran he is also a veteran as an educator teaching high school
english for over a decade.

   David dove head first into cannabis activism in 2013 when he became the Director of
Veterans Outreach for Texas NORML. One of the oldest Cannabis Outreach Organization in
the USA, NORML has been around since 1970 and active in Texas for nearly as long. In 2014
David Bass founded the Texas Veterans for Medical Marijuana. Besides California, Texas has
second highest Veteran population in our union basically tied with Florida. That being said
David’s mission fighting for veterans access to medical cannabis and getting PTSD added to
The Texas List of Qualifying Conditions for Medical Cannabis Use could not be more vital.
I can tell you as an avid veteran & cannabis activist it was refreshing to interview someone
proud to be exercising his right to civil disobedience. States like Texas give us veterans no
choice. Obviously losing over 8,000 veterans a year to Suicide is not enough for Texas law
makers to provide its veterans with access or the necessary medical conditions or diagnoses
to use medical cannabis. Since the year 2000 we have lost over 100,000 thousand veterans
to Suicide in the USA. If that won’t persuade law makers in Texas nothing will. As far as I’m
concerned the entire governing body of Texas has blood on it’s hands every single day the
veterans of Texas don’t have a legal and legitimate pathway to Medical Cannabis. We have
known for many years now that states with Medical Cannabis Access have lower Suicide
rates across the board.


   So now please enjoy the Q&A with Texas’s leading Veteran Cannabis Activist Mr. David Bass.

1) Q: Please tell our readers when, where and what branch you served your country
in the military.


  •Oklahoma National Guard, 45th Infantry Division, 1981-1985
  •U.S. Army Signal Corps, 1985-2006
  •Combat Ops: Desert Storm and Operation Iraqi Freedom II


2) Q: In 2015 Texas passed the “The Texas Compassionate Use Act” (Senate Bill
339) which seems to have been symbolic at best. With THC limits being set at 5%,
what science or studies were used to determine that a 5% THC Cap was needed for
Medical Cannabis use for Veterans?


A: The 5% THC cap for cannabis oil for the Texas Compassionate Use Program
(TCUP) is an arbitrary cap. There is no logic to it.


3) Q: All of us veterans have mentors in the industry that showed us the ropes of
effective and smart activism. Who is your mentor?


A: My mentors were the board members of Texas NORML when I joined the board in
2013 as the Director of Veteran Outreach. They were all experienced hardcore
activists. Joshua Schimberg, Cheyanne G. Weldon and Jax Finkel are the three
Texas NORML Executive Directors who have mentored me and supported our
veteran outreach work from 2012-2020.


4) Q: I see that PTSD was left off of Texas’s List of Qualifying Conditions for Medical
Cannabis use. Why in 2020 is PTSD still not on that vital list?


A: Lt Gov Dan Patrick refused to allow PTSD to be added to TCUP in 2018. He said,
“If we add PTSD, everyone will say they have PTSD.”


5) Q: Do Veterans in Texas that safely use Medical Cannabis vs Pharmaceuticals
risk losing there VA benefits?


A: No veteran in the US who uses cannabis as medicine, legally or illegally, will lose
their VA benefits. What may happen is that VA doctors may label the vet a drug
addict and note that in their medical records as “cannabis use disorder.”


6) Q: How do Veterans from Texas get involved in Medical Cannabis Activism?
Where would they be most effective?


A: Veterans in Texas can join up with Texas Veterans for Medical Marijuana. We are
vets who spread the word that cannabis is good medicine. Our facebook page is
Texas Veterans for Medical Marijuana to see our vet events and actions.


7) Q: I ask all my Veteran activists this same question, what year do you see the end
to Cannabis Prohibition? Part 2 - What year do you predict the VA being able to
legally write Medical Cannabis Authorization’s?


A: When marijuana will be legal in the US and when VA docs can write
recommendations is unknowable. Neither of these issues are a priority for
Republicans or Democrats at the national level, unfortunately. That’s our challenge-
to make it a priority.


8) Q: How long have you been using Medical Cannabis? What’s your medicating
preference: Joints (Pre-Roll), Dabbing (Vaping) or Edibles?


A: I discovered MMJ in 2012. I use flower three times each day , 1/2 gram each, in
my Pax vaporizer.


9) Q: How big of a problem has it been in your efforts to legalize Medical Cannabis
after the big Hemp Legalization Train came rolling through Texas?


A: What legalizing hemp in Texas did is that law enforcement can’t tell the difference
between hemp and marijuana so arrests are way down.


10) Q: What law maker in Texas has been your most staunch supporter to Medical
Cannabis Legalization?A: Representative Joe Moody from El Paso, current Speaker Pro Tempore of the
Texas House, is our greatest champion for legalizing marijuana in Texas.


11) Q: How many Medical Cannabis Safe Access Points are there in Texas?

A: Medical cannabis safe access points? There are none of those in Texas. There
are three TCUP licensees. They are licensed to dispense low THC cannabis oil from
their facilities to approved patients.


12) Q: Not once during this Election Cycle has there been a “Town Hall” or
“Presidential Debate” where the question has flat out been asked. “What would you
do better to fight the Veterans Suicide Epidemic”. Since 2000 we (America) have lost
over one hundred thousand Veterans to Suicide. Why do you think there is no sense
of urgency to end this Veterans Suicide Epidemic?


A: I think there is bipartisan urgency in the government to deal with the veteran
suicide issue. The problem is that no one in government knows exactly what to do
about it. It’s a complex issue. I know living near Fort Hood that one big issue is our
forever wars and the unrelenting OPTEMPO. Another issue is reintegrating our
service members back into the civilian world when their term of service is over.
Another issue is adequate mental health care at the VA which includes cannabis as