*WARNING: this post contains strong language and is longer than our standard blog. We wanted to give Sgt. Welsh the opportunity to express his thoughts and views without censorship or edit.

My name is Callahan Welsh and I am an eight year, honorably discharged Marine Veteran who has had a great deal of pain in my life. Before I joined the Marine Corps, I had shamed my mother, father and brothers because I tried cannabis and I liked it ... and, shortly after, I was distributing it through my high school. I know, shame on me, right? WRONG!!!! After the new found evidence of this plant (and let’s not forget it is just a plant,) I have been scarred with a criminal record and frowned upon looks from family & friends.

Fast forward to judgment day at the court in Maui, Hawai'i, as I stood in front of the judge to face my charges. Well, the female judge gave me that opportunity, like some, to choose jail or military. So I chose military as I felt that it could give me structure and manhood in my life. About a year later, and after an ankle surgery, I enlisted into the Marine Corps. Simply, the hardest military branch in the WORLD.

“I never had the urge or secretly smoked cannabis while I was enlisted. I was, however, getting educated on this plant.”

After gaining structure and successfully serving my country for eight years and a successful tour to Iraq, I got out of the Marines and put in my law enforcement application with the Maui Police Department. Like any service member, I would guesstimate that, 70% of the time, veterans want to KEEP serving their country with structure, respect for authority and solid foundation of livelihood—all the while serving the country by serving the community as a Police Officer.

Now, during my eight years, I never had the urge or secretly smoked cannabis while I was enlisted. I was, however, getting educated on this plant over the years thanks to my cousin, Robert Oswald, Oaksterdam Graduate. He taught me about the new scientific facts that were done by credible individuals, such as Sanjay Gupta, and organizations that wanted to PROVE to the american federal government that cannabis is not what they are working hard to make it seem like—that it was a bad thing to do or use.

So, during that time of my cousin keeping me up to date with educational facts about this plant and talking to more veterans and other people in general, I started to do my own research on this plant and wanted to see why I had been feeling bad all those years, thinking I was some kind of drug dealer and criminal? I started watching Netflix documentaries of cannabis to YouTube tutorials to Google searches. Fast forward, after getting out of the Marines in June of 2012, I was surrounded by cannabis in Maui 24/7. However, I STILL DIDN'T have the urge to smoke it. I did a few times ask my friends if I could roll their joints for them because, one, I wanted to see if I still had the skill of rolling a fatty and two, I simply enjoyed the smell of the tart plant.

“After all this education, I was able to come to my OWN conclusion ...”

All while pursing my higher education at the University of Hawai'i Maui College and founding the first ever UH Maui College Veterans Club and Veterans Resource Center (VRC), I continued with my love of supporting and advocating for veterans and educating them on how to obtain their benefits to the best of my degree. Again, while meeting and helping veterans along the way, I met one specific Vietnam Navy veteran who discussed the amazing benefits of cannabis and this guy turned out to be a cannabis Dr. and I mean he is a Dr. ... he has helped a tremendous amount of people on that little island and across the US. He told me one day, "Callahan, everyone has to have a hobby, and it is up to you how good you want to be at it." Moving along, this gentleman brought me to his house and educated me on so much more than what I could have asked for. To include, he is the one that got me my medical cannabis card.

Furthermore, I was able to understand after all this education from fellow veterans, my cousin, Netflix documentaries, YouTube tutorials and college (yes, college,) I was able to come to my OWN conclusion in my head that "Yeah ... this plant isn't so bad ... hell, it is JUST A PLANT." Then, after being half way through the hiring process at Maui Police Department, after needing a "medical waiver of liability" document signed off by my V.A. Dr., I was not able to continue my hiring process, because my Dr. was not willing to sign off on my document, because he knew I had a torn ACL in my left knee. So he asked me, "Mr. Welsh, do you think your knee can withstand eight months of police academy and the running and physical agility test these guys do? ... I mean, it is like going back to boot-camp ... do you think you can do boot-camp again? And I had to humbly ask myself if I could, knowing very well, I couldn’t.

“I am a single father of two boys and need to provide for their livelihood. They depend on me, it is as simple as that.”

I wanted that document signed off so bad, because I am a single father of two boys and need to provide for their livelihood. They depend on me, it is as simple as that. However, that is not the way my life was supposed to go ... so I humbled myself and by the V.A. influencing me to do the knee surgery due to service-connected disability, I decided to let the V.A. do the knee surgery and hopefully after 6-9 months, if not a year, see what lies ahead. It all depends on how quickly the knee recovers from surgery and how good your physical therapist is and IF they have the funds to continue to pay for it (which the V.A. did not in my case.)

After the knee surgery, I continued to pursue my degree at UHMC in order to have an education under my belt and after a year of recovery, I would be back in the game to become a police officer. To my misleading about how our federal government operates, THANKS to college education, my eyes, ears and mind were open more now then ever.

Once I realized, in such a humble manner, how the federal government (the same government I believed in and fought for, mind you,) was the biggest fucking liars in the entire world. From nixon to ashcroft (whose names do NOT deserve to be capitalized because they are such scummy pieces of shit...that is right, I CALLAHAN WELSH SAID IT) these men have managed to ruin so many lives in our nation today, it is unsettling.

I can't even imagine what mother nature and the creator of earth can be thinking on how this usa country, the youngest in the world, comes into power in the world and all of a sudden tells the states that cannabis is horrible and is a dangerous drug, and influences other countries to do the same by banning cannabis (well, at least Amsterdam didn't buy into the propaganda...GOOD FOR YOU AMSTERDAM!) in their countries.

“After two and a half years of being out of the Marines and trying to become a cop, I did not smoke. Until one day, I was at a low point… and boy did it take away every fucking thing I was worried about.”

So back to me and how cannabis HAS HELPED. For a long time, I thought I was in the wrong ... and perhaps I was at a young age, and I can certainly agree that not all teens should be smoking cannabis right away. And that is where education comes in to play. Because of the "proper" education about this plant, I decided to try it out again. So after two and a half years of being out of the Marines and trying to become a cop, I did not smoke. Until one day, all my disabilities and the hard times of not seeing my sons, I was at a low point. I called up my cousin to drive over and bring his ganja for us to escape the hardships of reality and pain, both mentally and physically.

So we sat, he rolled and I puffed ... and boy did it take away every fucking thing I was worried about. The first time smoking cannabis after a decade, I was able to have an inner spiritual awakening for me and gain a restful night’s rest and wake up refreshed in the morning (You can't get a hangover on THC.) I then went to my veteran friend and asked if he could help me with a Dr. to get my medical card. So he did. I received my medical cannabis card two weeks later from the Dr. with my blue medical marijuana card. As a veteran, I had shown proof by federal rules and regulations of my disabilities recorded by professionals at the V.A. on what I had to deal with as far as pain everyday for the rest of my life. So that piece of documentation qualified me right away for my card.

Once I had my card, I utilized my cannabis in a professional manner. And over the course of my third year at UHMC, I was not only able to function a little better in my studies, but I started to lose weight because I was hungry a lot when smoking which forced me to eat more vegetables and fruits because they tasted better. So yeah, the "munchies" are not a bad thing. You as an individual have the choice between a snickers and an apple ... and as we all know, "An apple a day, keeps the hemorrhoids away." - Callahan Welsh USMC Vet & Comedian. (Damn, I am clever at jokes in an autobiography, even when I just took my second bong rip. lol)

“I have night terrors from Iraq; since utilizing cannabis again, I sleep better.”

So what I am trying to say is that for a long time, I thought I was a criminal in smoking and selling cannabis ... and again, perhaps the selling was not the best thing ... but hey, when you are poor because the federal government made it that way, you do what you feel you are entitled to do to make a little extra cash on the side. (Gee, I hope the feds aren't doing that with the cartel in Mexico for fire arms?????)

And since utilizing cannabis again, I sleep better. I have night terrors from Iraq. Granted, and thankfully, I don't have flashbacks of Iraq because it wasn't that bad when my Charlie Company deployed out to COP Albu Hyatt (a bombarded school that we rebuilt to have a safe headquarters from sniper fire and mortars.) But I have my fair share of wake-ups from loud bangs or disturbing night terrors of falling off a cliff while driving in my military vehicle, or the loss of fellow veterans that decide to take their lives, or my father's lifeless body, or the fucking fact that I cannot see my two boys that I proudly brought into this world. Because I want the responsibility of taking care of them and holding them in my arms before they grow up so quickly that they cannot fall asleep in my arms, and life has passed by before my eyes only to catch a glimpse of what they did growing up.

“It is the LACK of education that causes kids to not know what is going on… it is our obligated duty to teach, educate and show how they can grow the plant and how to use it properly.”

Now, I do NOT agree with kids smoking cannabis at a young age but, I would rather have them smoke organic, grade A cannabis instead of smoke cigs, drink or use hard core drugs (and again, for the record, we need to stop referring to cannabis as a drug ... it is an herb, and will always be an herb, period!) However, it is the LACK of education that causes kids to not know what is going on. If kids want to learn math, they go to school. They want to learn how to do the laundry, they ask parents. So it is our obligated duty to teach, educate and show how they can grow the plant and how to use it properly. But you can simply explain to them when they are at an age of reasoning and they, too, want to indulge—at 20 years old or older—they are just as entitled human beings as the rest. I will show my kids how to grow cannabis and educate them on how to use it. But bottom-line first, I have to grow them into successful individuals with aspirations and dreams of becoming someone special.

“Let me enlighten you a bit about how fucking cool cannabis is.”

To include, SOME of my memory has gotten sharper. Now granted, the short term memory gets foggy, but does not hinder my daily task juggling of college with the new degree I am pursuing in Health & Fitness Science. I have been able to study a lot better in some of my classes, believe it or not.

Let me enlighten you a bit about how fucking cool cannabis is. I have been and always viewed myself as a fat piece of shit. And I followed that life style until the Marines. I lost weight and felt more confident with the weight loss. And yes, everyone WANTS to look good because it is sexually appealing. People want to feel attractive and sexually desired.

Well, after getting out of the Marines, I fell into such disgusting pity for myself and depression that I did not know what else to do, especially after gaining so much weight. I was 195 lbs in the Marines and, about seven months after, I was 255 lbs. I simply fucking hated myself. Since I was not the type of Marine that drank much alcohol (and none now) and didn't smoke cigarettes and dip tobacco (cause that is just fucking gross), I only stuck to my cannabis and drinking water and I was healthy.

I was healthy (and this is that cool part I mentioned earlier) because I WAS smoking cannabis to eat ... eat healthier and MORE throughout the day (but small meals, just more of them) and I was losing weight. I was in a bit of shock. Now with that being said, THIS method might not work for everyone, but it worked for me. Because my desire to have sexual appeal outweighed the fat in me and, as the “individual”, I CHOSE to grab a banana instead of a snickers. I CHOSE to make my shakes of fruits and veggies in the morning instead of relying on fast, fat, fuck food at the drive through (yes, they are convenient when you are running late, but no, not EVER!!)

I mean, for me to learn about the Endocannabanoid System and how our bodies were “DESIGNED" by mother nature, or the higher spirit above, to be able to have receptors intended or made to receive THC, CBD, CBN, THCV, etc. — I was just in shock again to know that none of these elements were meant to harm the body and our federal government hid that from us ... how unbecoming of america is that??

“I have used cannabis to bring me closer to my family ... ”

Not only has cannabis made me eat healthier, but it keeps my nerves calm from the anger in me and the irritableness in me. You see, I have a younger brother Jeriko—amazing brother, besides the fact that he has disabilities himself. In this lifetime, he was blessed with Tourette Syndrome, OCD, CAPD, ADHD, Schizophrenia, Asperger's, severe anxiety and loneliness (no girlfriend, no friends that call him up, no family members calling to say hi as well as the loss of our father and the misunderstanding of the way normal people function.) It goes on and gets worse, but rather save that for another time.

I have the hardest time with my own demons AND have to manage my brother’s disabilities while watching him ask the higher spirit why he has such a stupid brain that makes him do stupid shit that he cannot control and cannot have a girlfriend or kids because no one will fucking love him because he is different. I have to have patience for myself and for my brother. It bugs me that I am not more sympathetic to my brother’s disabilities because I am still high strung after getting out of the Marines.

So I have used cannabis to bring me closer to my family that I have pushed away for so long because I had become a failure after the Marines.

“I have been at some low points in my life where I seriously considered that this human life was not for me anymore.”

Last but not least: suicide. Well, it can happen and happens all the time and it can be prevented. Now I have been at some low points in my life where I seriously considered that this human life was not for me anymore. I was embarrassed to be a human being because of all the lies and bullshit that had been told to me when, all along, I thought I was doing my best to treat people with respect and help those I can in this thing we call life. I was embarrassed because I couldn't keep a relationship together with my two exes (for the clear record, they were girlfriends and not wives).

I couldn't be a dad, I couldn't get the solid career to have a solid foundation for my boys to grow up with me and become success stories themselves. I couldn't stop the shitbag Marines raping our females (sisterhood) in the Marines. I couldn't stop all the evil in the world. I couldn’t do anything fucking right, and I still feel like that today. And thanks to the inventor or maker of this plant and the human being that experimented with it to find its true intentions … it has POSSIBLY given me the opportunity to realize that life isn't worth leaving just yet.

Whether or not people believe me, I cannot make them. But I can share my story. My story that is one out of seven or eight billion people on this planet that says this cannabis plant may have saved his life from the cold steel of a 9mm bullet leaving through a barrel and bursting brain matter all over the wall. Only myself and the holy one will understand.

In the end, you guys, as well as I and the rest of the world, realize that cannabis WAS PUT ON EARTH ... and for our usa federal government to say cannabis is bad is like telling the earthly creator that he, or she or it, was WRONG to invent it. Facts have been proven by credible people—people that, in america, the public looks up to and listens to because they are credible people. Again, who the fuck is the usa federal government??? What is their credibility?? What is their entitlement to tell the human race whether or not we can use a plant called cannabis?? Is anyone else questioning their integrity? I guess not ... since we all know what really happened to Kennedy (shaking my head.)

“It has opened my mind, eyes, spirit and my internal happiness.”

I digress. So what I guess I am trying to say is: I would like to see, in my lifetime, racism gone and fucking depleted off this beautiful green earth. And I believe the green plant, cannabis, can stop racism. I have personally been able to meet sooooooo many cool individuals in this lifetime thanks to cannabis. It has opened my mind, eyes, spirit and my internal happiness. Even if it is an escape for 20 minutes to three hours, let me escape since our government is so kind to remind us how much our bills are and when they are due. Bills are a stressor for the mind and cannabis is the anti-stressor.

That is why I, Callahan Welsh, nowadays advocate for veterans and their benefits, cannabis—both medically & recreationally—and stand-up comedy. I am a big believer not only in karma, but laughter ... as laughter is a better euphoric reaction. And that is where cannabis has helped me turn my sorrows & shame into something other people can relate too. Hell, who knows if cannabis just might get me to become the professional comedian and TEDx Talks motivational speaker I want to be someday ... along with owning my own non-profit gym for kids, comedy club for kids and adults, and just a whole bunch of other cool shit I want to do for my boys, brothers, mother and others before I go to the afterworld.

Yes, there is more I can share but, I have chosen these points to educate others on how cannabis has helped me. It works for me. And if it doesn't work for you, don't use it, it is that simple. BUT ... if it does work for you ... enjoy it. And each time you enjoy it ... do not forget to give thanks to the plant for allowing you the opportunity to enjoy its hidden medicine. And give thanks to the creator for making it. If you truly are a believer of the higher spirit, you have to believe that they knew what they were doing when they created this plant from dirt. BOOM!!

*SGT. PATIENT is a blog forum for veterans who wish to publicly or anonymously share their medical marijuana stories and experiences. The political or religious views expressed by these veterans are not representative of the views or opinions of Hopegrown.org