Kansas lawmakers are talking about legalizing marijuana, and one of their strongest supporters is an Iraq War veteran.
Supporters say it's not about legalizing pot for recreational use, but about legalizing medical marijuana in the state of Kansas. The Army veteran says it would help his fellow veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder.
"PTSD is actually becoming quite an epidemic with our soldiers returning home. Twenty-two veterans committing suicide a day, it's an epidemic," said Kansas Army Veteran Ethan McCord.
McCord served in Iraq and encountered IED blasts on three different mission.
"Hit by a roadside bomb, it damaged my lower spine," he said.
McCord now walks with a cane, his spine replaced with metal rods, yet he's not rallying at the statehouse for his right to smoke medical marijuana. He said he doesn't smoke pot.
"In the last three years I've had nine of my friends commit suicide. The friends that I do who do use medical marijuana, it helps them sleep at night and it helps calm their nerves," he said.
Senate Bill 9 is legislation Sen. David Haley has backed before. He wants Kansas legislators to give it a chance so the voices of Kansas veterans and those with legitimate medical needs can be heard.
"I would just have the hearing, which is all we're asking for today," Haley said.
"If medical marijuana is the only way, then I feel we should give it to them," McCord said.
Haley said he hopes Senate Bill 9 will be considered this session. A similar bill was introduced in Kansas last year, but didn't make it.
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