Oklahomans voted overwhelmingly in favor of medical cannabis in June, with many of the proponents citing veterans in need of alternative treatment for post traumatic stress disorder and chronic pain. 

Some veterans have little to no information about cannabis or a way to get it, Larkin said. A group of local veterans and supporters has banded together to help provide that education for those seeking information. 

The Texoma Veterans Alliance was started by Todd Larkin, Chris McMahan and Drake Haggard. Modeled after a similar group out of Boston, Larkin said the focus of TVA is to be a place where veterans and their families and caregivers can gather and seek support. 

“Mandatory meetings and paid memberships just don’t work for many vets,” Larkin said. The group has done a fundraiser, selling t-shirts to help fund the donation of CBD products to local veterans. They have also assisted ten veterans in filling out the applications for medical cannabis cards in Oklahoma. 

“At our first meeting we had about ten people,” Larkin said. “At the second, we had 24. So far for the meeting this Saturday, we’ve had about 50 RSVP.” 

Larkin said the events are come and go, with varying agendas to help accommodate the needs of veterans who might attend. “Education is a huge part of what we aim to do,” Larkin said. 

Chris McMahan, owner of Freedom Strains LLC, said he volunteers with TVA to help provide education to other veterans. “I’m all about sharing information and education,” McMahan said. “There are so many different factors when it comes to growing and using cannabis. Everything is important to getting what you need, including having the right soil, the right strain, and even knowing what temperature each strain needs to reach to get the best benefit.” McMahan said like any other medicine, it’s important for veterans to understand that some strains will work really well for them, where others may not be the best choice. “We want to educate veterans so they can find what works best for them,” McMahan said. “We just want them to be safe.”

“Each meeting will be different. We can talk about things like growing cannabis at home, what strains can be used for different issues and also do special events like this month’s comedians and dinner. Next month, we are partnering with Green Family Martial Arts to help raise funds for veterans to be able to go to the MMA fights for free.” 

September’s meeting will open at 7 p.m. on Saturday, September 15, at 24 N. Washington Street. Larkin said they will open with strain education and serve burgers and hot dogs. At 8 p.m., three local comedians will perform. The event is open to veterans and their spouses or caregivers. Tickets are free and available via TVA’s Facebook group at https://bit.ly/2CRTuIu. 

Larkin said spouses and caregivers are welcome because they are often integral to getting veterans the help they need. “We may all be from different services, but we share some things,” Larkin said. “All of us know how important our families are.”