DENVER -- Twenty-two veterans commit suicide every day in the U.S. An untold number of them die from drug overdoses.
But a Colorado group says it has a solution to save some of these souls from their emotional and physical pain.
A cannabis giveaway event in Denver drew about 500 people -- most of them vets.
“This is our biggest one so far,” says founder of Operation Grow 4 Vets, Roger Martin.
The line stretched throughout the hotel.
Vets everywhere -- some with physical scars.
“The doctor removed that much of my fibia in the lower right leg,” says Vietnam veteran Mark Pitts.
Others carry emotional scars.
“Last year, I wouldn’t have been able to do this,” says Afghanistan veteran Brian Nance, about attending the event with hordes of people.
They wait to get $200 worth of cannabis products for free.
But it has little to do with getting high--and a lot to do with healing.
"We're really here to help them with their medical conditions…PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder), TBI (traumatic brain injury), chronic pain. There's a wide variety of ailments. Anything that involves pain," says Martin, who is himself a veteran.
The event is seeing a record number of vets today. Each person gets a week’s supply of tincture, a cannabis chocolate and eight marijuana seeds to grow their own medicine.
Martin says his mission is to help vets hurt protecting our freedom -- vets like Nance.
“I was separated from my platoon and I jumped into a ravine and fell 40 feet and broke my back,” says Nance, 29.
He survived an ambush in Afghanistan four years ago and now helps other vets get service dogs.
He credit cannabis with his recovery and helping him wean off morphine.
"I've been using cannabis and it's been helping me. And it helps. If I don’t have to take a pill for 4to 5 hours, for me that’s a big deal,” he says.
"There is nothing, I mean nothing, that can completely get rid of my pain," says Pitts.
He says cannabis also helps him cope.
"Without the cannabis, forget it, I don’t even want to get out of bed some days. But, at least, cannabis takes enough of the edge off the pain I can deal with the pain," he says.
They served our country. And now Operation Grow 4 Vets wants to serve them.
"No one in our country sacrifices more than veterans and their families," says Martin.
The group today also launched a new program called Save 1000 Vets.
It wants to provide 1,000 vets with a free monthly-supply of cannabis-infused products for as long as they live.
Right now, they have enough money to help 100 vets.
If you'd like to donate to the cause, check out Grow4Vets online.
There will be another cannabis giveaway Sept. 27, in Colorado Springs at the Double Tree Hilton, 1775 E. Cheyenne Mountain Blvd, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Your must RSVP by 12 p.m. Sept. 26 to receive free product.AlertMe