All he wanted to do was have a cigarette. While he was in Iraq in 2006, a good friend of mine set out to have a cigarette before rolling out for a mission with his fellow Marines. That very cigarette ended up being very harmful to my friend, changing his life forever and causing a condition that could very well have been treated with medicinal marijuana.

Taking a drag off his Marlboro, my friend conversed with his comrade about the way things were over there. “F***ed up,” he would tell me. During that conversation and a last drag, my friend (who we will call Ron) heard the incoming noise of a Rocket Propelled Grenade and then, nothing.


When he woke up, Ron was in a military hospital, still in Iraq. He asked what happened. He was told that the RPG hit the Humvee that he and his squad mate were smoking by, injuring Ron and killing his brother in arms.

Ron had a gash about 6 inches long and 3 inches wide that went across his thigh. His leg was saved by a quick thinking medic, and he returned to duty a few months after he sustained his injury (staying in country the entire time).

He healed physically (mostly), but mentally he had a hard time with things.

After leaving the Corps and coming home, Ron had a hard time dealing with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Finding a way for himself to deal with what he experienced was the hardest thing for him. Often times he would drink heavily, with flashbacks coming soon after. It was a scary thing to see.

One time while we were out, Ronnie told me that he wanted to move to another state that allowed use of medical marijuana to treat PTSD. He knew he had a problem, and the pills that he was taking were not helping. Smoking pot helped him; he knew this. When he smoked, he was relaxed.

No pain. No Flashbacks.

Ron explained that he could not smoke pot regularly, because he was looking for work and drug tests were often a part of finding any sustainable employment. Between the PTSD and pain he was having in his leg, medical marijuana would probably have been an excellent way for him to treat his symptoms.

In 2008, our home state passed a law which legalized the use of medical marijuana for treatment of a variety of symptoms. If PTSD wasn’t covered, surely Ron’s constant leg pain would have gotten him covered. He could return to the guy we all knew. It was awesome news!

Sadly, Ron never made it to see the medical marijuana provision passed into law. He passed away a few months before voters overwhelmingly approved of the herb’s use in medical patients. The cause of his death was a result of the medicines he was taking to control pain as well as his PTSD.

He was a good man and is sorely missed by hundreds of people.

Not a day goes by when I don’t think of Ron, and how much of a shame it was that he was put into a situation where he was treated with pills instead of pot.

Ron knew what was wrong with him, and he knew that the cure was out of his reach. He never got that chance to move away and get a medicine that could have helped save his life.

God bless you Ron. We all hope that medical pot is legalized throughout this land so that others can be treated in the way that you wanted to.