G.I. Jobs Virtual Job Fair   |   July 25

Virtual Job Fair   |   July 25

Cannabis Industry Offers Purposeful Work for Veterans


By Sheri L. Tarr, JD, Founder & Chief Advisor ’68 Partners LLC

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is a debilitating mental health condition that affects millions of people worldwide, with veterans being particularly susceptible due to their exposure to traumatic experiences during combat. The impact of PTSD on veterans can be profound, affecting not only their mental health, but also their physical well being, relationships, and overall quality of life. Traditional treatments for PTSD often involve therapy and medication, but increasingly, holistic approaches such as cannabis therapy and purposeful work have been gaining attention for
their potential benefits in reducing symptoms and promoting healing among veterans.

To appreciate the significance of holistic approaches to healing PTSD among veterans, it is important to first understand the nature of the disorder and its prevalence within this demographic. PTSD can develop following exposure to a traumatic event, such as combat, and is characterized by symptoms like intrusive memories, hyperarousal, avoidance, and negative changes in mood and cognition. According to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, approximately 11-20% of veterans who served in Operations Iraqi Freedom (OIF) and Enduring Freedom (OEF) experience PTSD each year. These statistics underscore the urgent need for effective interventions
tailored to the unique experiences and challenges faced by veterans.

While conventional treatments for PTSD, including psychotherapy and prescription medications, have demonstrated some efficacy for certain individuals, they are not always sufficient or well-tolerated by all veterans. Therapy may involve reliving traumatic experiences which can be distressing and challenging for individuals with PTSD. Additionally, pharmaceutical interventions often come with side effects and the risk of dependency or misuse, presenting barriers to treatment adherence and long-term recovery. As a result, many veterans seek alternative or complementary approaches to managing their symptoms and reclaiming their lives.

Holistic approaches to healing PTSD among veterans encompass a range of interventions that address the interconnected aspects of physical, mental, and emotional well-being. These approaches recognize the importance of treating the whole person rather than just the symptoms of PTSD. Two notable holistic strategies that have garnered attention in recent years are cannabis therapy and purposeful work. Cannabis, derived from the cannabis sativa plant, contains compounds known as cannabinoids, which interact with the body’s endocannabinoid system to
modulate various physiological functions including mood regulation and stress response. Research suggests that cannabinoids such as tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD) may have therapeutic potential in alleviating symptoms of PTSD such as anxiety, insomnia, and intrusive thoughts. For veterans struggling with PTSD, cannabis therapy may offer a promising alternative or adjunct to traditional treatments. Many veterans report finding relief from their symptoms with cannabis, citing its ability to promote relaxation, improve sleep, and reduce hypervigilance. Furthermore, cannabis may provide a sense of control and empowerment to veterans who feel marginalized or disillusioned by conventional medical approaches.

Another holistic approach to healing PTSD among veterans involves engaging in purposeful work or meaningful activities that provide a sense of fulfillment, accomplishment, and connection to others. Transitioning from military service to civilian life can be a challenging process for many veterans, often leading to feelings of isolation, loss of identity, and lack of purpose. Engaging in meaningful work, whether through employment, volunteerism, or creative pursuits, can help veterans reestablish a sense of empowerment, purpose and belonging in their post-service lives.

For veterans seeking meaningful employment opportunities, the cannabis industry offers a diverse range of roles where veterans’ unique skills and experiences may be highly leverageable. Transferable skills include among many, discipline and leadership; complex problem-solving; attention to detail; security and safety; and education and advocacy. Armed with these skills and expertise, veterans may be uniquely equipped for a variety of roles in the burgeoning cannabis industry, particularly in licensed operations as further described here:

  • Cultivation: Cannabis cultivation requires discipline, attention to detail, and adherence to strict protocols. Whether managing grow operations, ensuring crop health and quality, or implementing security measures, veterans can excel in various roles within the cultivation sector.

  • Manufacturing and Processing: From extracting cannabinoids to creating infused products, cannabis manufacturing and processing facilities require skilled personnel to operate machinery, maintain quality control, and ensure compliance with regulatory standards. Veterans with backgrounds in logistics, engineering, or chemistry can find fulfilling opportunities in this sector, applying their expertise to produce safe cannabis products.

  • Dispensary Operations: Operating a cannabis dispensary involves customer service, product knowledge, and regulatory compliance. Veterans with experience in leadership, communication, and problem-solving can excel as dispensary managers, budtenders, or security personnel, helping educate consumers and provide access to medicinal cannabis products.

  • Distribution and Delivery: As the cannabis market expands, the demand for efficient distribution and delivery services will increase. Veterans with experience in logistics, transportation, or supply chain management can play vital roles in ensuring the timely and secure distribution of cannabis products to dispensaries and consumers, contributing to the industry’s growth and accessibility.

  • Ancillary Services: Beyond plant-touching roles, veterans can also explore opportunities in ancillary services such as legal, accounting, marketing, and technology. These sectors support the infrastructure of the cannabis industry, providing essential services that facilitate compliance, innovation, and business development. Veterans with transferable skills in administration, finance, or communications can find rewarding careers in these areas.

As the cannabis industry continues to expand globally, veterans are increasingly finding opportunities to leverage their skills and experiences in this burgeoning sector. Cannabis licensing programs, both for medical and recreational use, present avenues for veterans to enter the industry and establish successful businesses. Additionally, franchise opportunities within the cannabis sector offer veterans a structured pathway to entrepreneurship, with support, training, and resources tailored to their needs. Various states and countries have implemented cannabis licensing programs to regulate the production, distribution, and sale of cannabis products. These programs create opportunities for entrepreneurs, including veterans, to obtain licenses for cultivation, manufacturing, processing, distribution, retail, and more.

While eligibility criteria and application processes vary by jurisdiction, veterans often benefit from programs that prioritize diversity, equity, and inclusion. In fact, certain states prioritize the unique background and experience of veterans in cannabis licensing programs. While the specific prioritization for disabled veterans may vary state to state, New York, for example, has taken steps to prioritize Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Small Businesses (SDVOBs). Likewise, neighboring New Jersey was first in the Tri-State region to prioritize disabled veteran-owned businesses in its application process. Other states, including Colorado, Oregon, and Massachusetts have established cannabis licensing programs that include provisions for veterans. These programs may offer preferential treatment, reduced fees, or technical assistance to veterans applying for cannabis licenses, recognizing their contributions and sacrifices. Similarly, countries like Canada have implemented initiatives to promote diversity and inclusivity in the cannabis industry, providing support and resources for underrepresented groups, including veterans.

As veterans continue to grapple with PTSD and other challenges related to their military service, exploring opportunities in the cannabis industry can offer a path to healing, purpose, and prosperity. By leveraging their unique skills, experiences, and sense of duty, veterans can make valuable contributions to a burgeoning industry that is reshaping healthcare, commerce, and culture.

Sheri Tarr, JD is the Founder and Chief Advisor of ’68 Partners LLC, a global regulatory and commercialization consultancy helping life sciences companies and cannabis brand owners, license applicants, and licensed operators, build successful businesses that have a transformative impact on consumers and patients.

Working Together to Find Balance
The Balanced Veterans Network (BVN) is a wellness-focused nonprofit organization that provides
education, resources, and a support system to empower veterans to use alternative therapies to
combat alarming issues like the suicide and opioid epidemic and the difficult time navigating the
transition out of the military and reenlisting your purpose post-service. To learn more visit

Cannabis Industry Offers Purposeful Work for Veterans
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Cannabis Industry Offers Purposeful Work for Veterans
Traditional treatments for PTSD often involve therapy and medication, but increasingly, holistic approaches such as cannabis therapy and purposeful work have been gaining attention for their potential benefits in reducing symptoms and promoting healing among veterans.
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G.I. Jobs
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