#MoreThanThanks: A Reflection after Veterans Day

As a daughter of a Vietnam Veteran, and a sister of an Iraqi and Afghanistan war veteran, I have admired my father and brother for their service in the military – for our country and their service for our freedom. I never thought I would have the honor of #givingback to our veteran community through research, education and advocacy – but I fortunately this year do and I am grateful to give #morethanthanks for our heroes. 

This year, I am honored to partner with Stephen Mandile as the Principal Investigator for the 2019 Veterans Health and Medical Cannabis Research study inspired by Stephen, and launched on March 3, 2019 with UMass Dartmouth. 

Through the leadership of Stephen Mandile, a long-running advocate, politician, and cannabis start-up entrepreneur this study has taken life and will bring results that aim to make a meaningful difference, through veteran-shared and driven data and science. 

I have always admired Stephen’s leadership in the cannabis, veteran, and policy communities in Massachusetts. Mandile’s heart, mission and focus solely on helping others and the greater good is unparalleled. 

In December 2018, Stephen asked C3RN to collaborate on a research study that would look to gather ANONYMOUS data from veterans about their healthcare, treatments, and alternative options. The focus? How medical cannabis is helping veterans. We jumped at the opportunity to partner with Mandile to drive change to community-contributed data. 

March 3, 2018

Stephen hosted an event and asked C3RN to have a booth, and we met Dr. Peter Grinspoon. We have since worked together to bring awareness, realism and data to the cannabis conversation. 

Meeting Dr. Lester Grinspoon, through the work of Stephen is a highlight of my professional and personal career. 

Over the last year, we have worked hard to meet politicians, scientists, researchers, academics, cannabis industry professionals and community members to advocate for change in access. 

March 3, 2019 

Together, with UMass Dartmouth, we launched the Veterans Health and Medical Cannabis Research Study. Steve, with the foresight to bring real change in access, brought on Ann Brum of Joint Venture & Co to develop an educational series to share the research study findings and drive change in stigma through learning.

Thank you to Ann for your leadership and precision in organizing the community awareness arm of the veterans health and medical cannabis study – the Cannabis Advancement Series. 

Learn more here: www.cannabisadvancementseries.org 

To date, the Cannabis Advancement Series has held five successful events in Massachusetts, looking to drive change in stigma, education, and veterans access. See our past events listing for more information. 

To date, over 500 veterans have completed the online ANON survey, and data will be analyzed in early 2020 to better understand how cannabis is used among the veteran population. 

See the latest data updates here: www.cannacenterofexcellence.org 

Since the launch of the study, I have watched in admiration for my friend and comrade, Stephen Mandile keep going to make change. In September 2019, Stephen was nominated the DAV Legislative Director of the Disabled American Veterans, Massachusetts branch, and worked with IAVA to Storm the Hill in October 2019 to advocate for veterans rights and improved treatments. 

In October 2019, Stephen introduced bill HD.4992 at the MA State House to increase access to medical cannabis for veterans. The bill, co-sponsored buy over 10 house and state representatives is set to be heard later this year. The bill also allows opioid use disorder and PTSD, for the general and veteran populations, to be added to the list of qualifying conditions for medical cannabis. 

Thank you Stephen for your never ending service, together with Syd, you both are true leaders and examples to follow. Thank you for choosing C3RN to be in the trenches with to make change in access to alternative treatments for our heroes. 

We look forward to continuing to doing our best to make meaningful change in outcomes through our partnership, study, and your work on Beacon Hill! 


Marion McNabb, DrPH, MPH