DENVER (CBS4) - It was a first for some veterans in Colorado on Memorial Day -- they were invited to a free marijuana giveaway.
More than 150 vets formed a historic line at Denver's Dark Star Lounge on Monday. Every single veteran received a bag filled with everything from edible marijuana to green buds to cannabis oil.
The organizer, Roger Martin, a Vietnam veteran, says that kind of therapy changed his life and he wanted to return the favor to his fellow vets.
"I'm hoping this will be a more natural kind of relief," Desert Storm vet Ron Roberts said.
Martin says 22 veterans a day commit suicide. Many suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder or physical problems. They're often prescribed heavy doses of prescription drugs.
"I've got hundreds of veterans telling me, 'I just can't live anymore with all the pills that are being shoved down my throat,' " Martin said.
The goal of Monday's pot giveaway was to get them off narcotics through pot.
Martin himself suffers from PTSD and was addicted to OxyContin. He says he's living proof that marijuana is a safer alternative. Three weeks ago he founded the group "Grow4Vets" to pay it forward to fellow vets like Park Major.
"It helps relax me. It helps keep me from being so anxious and depressed. It really calms me down," Major said.
Major suffers from PTSD. He had been taking 35 prescription pills a day until he tried marijuana.
"It caused me to have seizures, heart problems; it's put me in the hospital. Thanks to the cannabis I've been able to get off of most of it," Major said.
Roberts says the free pot is giving him hope and he's grateful that somebody cares.
"It's good to see anybody that will do anything for veterans. I really appreciate that," he said.
The Veteran Affairs Department doesn't officially support marijuana therapy but they won't penalize any vets who decide to try it.
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