Congressman Matt Gaetz held two roundtables discussions on Monday with veterans and faith-based community leaders on medical marijuana research.
In Florida, marijuana is a schedule I drug, the same classification as heroin and LSD, but House Bill 2020 would reschedule marijuana to a schedule III drug, the same as steroids.
Congressman Gaetz met with dozens of veterans across the panhandle at the University of West Florida.
Many of the veterans who were there say they would rather use medical marijuana legally than to take the chance of overdosing on prescribed pain pills.
Gaetz said he wants to make it easier to do research into marijuana's medical uses with lighter regulation.
He also said that's hard to do when many Republicans in Congress oppose the idea.
Gaetz said he will introduce new legislation to Congress next week in hopes that they will understand patients' needs for medical marijuana.
"The legislation that I will be introducing will end the cannabis gag rule in the VA so VA doctors can talk to their patients about cannabis options. The second thing my bill will do is expand the entities that grow medical grade marijuana now it is only one but we would create a minimum of three. Finally, we will create a safe harbor for universities and hospitals that want to do research so that their other federal grants will not be impaired," explained Gaetz.
Matthew Rumple is a 21-year Army veteran. He suffers PTSD and a traumatic brain injury.
"If we can't get this passed we will never see that on the market for us," Rumple said.
Rumple said everyone should have the right to have better healthcare.
"I'm good enough to go and die fight for this country but now someone can go and tell what I can and can't take for medication, it doesn't feel too good," Rumple added.
Nancy Prevot is a retired Navy veteran.
Prevot knows what medical marijuana can do for pain after her husband died from cancer six months ago.
"He was given cannabis and if it wasn't for that his days would've been doubly hard," Prevot said.
That is why she and many others came out to be a part of the discussion.
"When you give the best days of your life to your country and now you have nothing on the back end but pain, you deserve to live the best, if it is cannabis give it to them," Prevot explained.
Good luck Matt from The Wee Hemp Team.