Mathew Young fought for his country in Iraq, losing some of close friends and returned home a shattered shell of his former self. Now The Florida Army vet is latest victim in the war against marijuana. Cops arrested Young in November on trafficking, possession and manufacturing marijuana charges. During interviews with local TV stations, Young and his lawyer insist he was using pot to treat his war injuries.
In addition to suffering from post traumatic stress disorder and shrapnel wounds, Young has aids, which he said he contracted treating wounded soldiers during his tour as a medic. The 45-year-old Pasco County resident is also dealing with head trauma caused by concussions he sustained from roadside bombs.
The trauma of war followed him home. “I hid myself in a 12-by-12 bedroom and didn’t want to engage the world,” Young told Bay News 9. “I was dying. I was basically living in a bed and weighed about 128 pounds.”
He only started to feel better when he tried medical marijuana. The cannabis helped the Florida Army vet decrease the side effects and the pain of his illness and injuries. He was able to put away his wheelchair and walk without difficulty. And it calmed down his PTSD.
Shawn Gearhart, who is Young’s lawyer, said his client isn’t a criminal.
“He is a patient,” Gearhart told WTSP 10 News. “It’s obvious that he needs this medical cannabis to control the side effects of these other drugs he is taking and live a normal life.”
Gearhart managed to get two of the charges against his client dropped, but he still faces one county that could send Young to prison for five years. Gearhart’s goal is to ensure Young’s right to use marijuana for medicinal purposes.
“There is millions of Floridians that can benefit from whole flower cannabis that are dealing with debilitating diseases,” Gearhart said.