Target: Weld County Colorado District Attorney’s Office
Goal: Exonerate Navy veteran Jeremy Usher for using medicinal marijuana to treat post-traumatic stress disorder while under probation
A former US Navy Corpsman is facing the threat of prison for using marijuana to cope with his post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). The veteran, Jeremy Usher of Colorado, uses medicinal marijuana to cope with a multitude of symptoms brought on by PTSD from serving abroad in Iraq and Afghanistan, including sleeplessness, anxiety, depression, flashbacks, and a speech disorder.
Medicinal marijuana is legal in Colorado, and the state is also one of two that now permits recreational use of marijuana. However, Usher has been convicted three times of driving drunk, meaning he is on probation and cannot use drugs like marijuana. Usher’s alcohol problem was developed as a coping mechanism to deal with his PTSD symptoms. A judge denied his request to continue to use medicinal marijuana while on probation. He now faces up to 29 days of jail time, without guaranteed treatment, due to his marijuana use. Usher is terrified of the prospect of reversing the valuable progress he has made.
Usher has a prescription for a synthetic version of marijuana, but it is a difficult drug to afford at $18 a pill. Usher also has a service dog that helps him cope with nightmares and flashbacks. Doctors and supporters of Usher have begun a letter writing campaign on his behalf, imploring the court to reconsider its decision.
“I’m never going to be free of the flashes of the memories; I’m stuck with those for life,” said Usher. “What I’m able to do is manage those in an appropriate manner, without just going out and cracking open a bottle.” Usher’s plight is one that many veterans go through once returning from service, and the problem of depression and suicide among veterans is growing at an alarming pace.
The situation Usher faces is a tragic result of our failed and draconian drug policies. It is shameful that a man who has served our country is being punished, rather than treated, for his transgressions. Ask the Weld County DA’s office to end the charges against Jeremy Usher.
Dear Weld County Office of the District Attorney,
The nuances in the case of Jeremy Usher present a difficult legal conundrum, but must be considered in the context of providing the best option for a man who has suffered immensely after serving his country. A man who has served in the military and is now coping with the trauma of such service should not be subjected to punishment that is certain to worsen his fragile condition. Usher is dealing with the unimaginably painful symptoms of PTSD, and spending time in a jail cell will undo the strides he has made in coping with his mental health and only exacerbate his suffering. We understand that Usher using marijuana while on probation means he has indeed broken the law, but the circumstances surrounding this case should provide for special handling.
Marijuana is now legal in your state for recreational use, and castigating a man who has used it for medical use seems particularly harsh, even if he is on probation. Usher is one of thousands of veterans who are struggling with the consequences of combat. He deserves the utmost respect and care that can be afforded to him. Tossing this man into a jail cell with no regard for the fragility of his mental and emotional health is reckless and unjust. We understand the rule of law in America, but this particular case, special consideration is paramount to the well being of one of America’s bravest. Please pardon Jeremy Usher and keep him out of jail.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: US Army