It’s Veteran’s Day. This day, we as a nation, have set aside to honor our veterans for their service, their families for their sacrifices, and all those whose live’s have been touched by the tragic effects of war. Many of us have known a family member, friend, or co-worker who has served for our country. My grandfather is a veteran of the US Army who fought in the Korean War. My father is a disabled US Air Force veteran, and I have a very close friend, who I consider a brother, currently serving in the Army, overseas in the Middle East. In my previous life of finance, back in Missouri, I worked for Veteran’s United Home Loans, who specialize in assisting veterans and their families to purchase homes all over the United States. Knowing my work was helping give back to veterans, made it much more meaningful. Now I do my best to give back how I can. This year has been focused on raising awareness for the average 22 veterans who commit suicide every day.

MJFITNUT proudly partnered with Project-22 of Missouri early in the year. As a race sponsor we proudly wore their logo on our shirts as we traveled the nation competing, and we always spread word of their efforts everywhere we go. Almost all of The 420 Games events started off with a 22 push up salute to help raise awareness for this alarming statistic. Even more alarming is that veterans represent 7% of the American population, yet account for 20% of the national suicide rate. This is not an issue that should be ignored, and I am currently in a 22 push ups for 22 days challenge to help raise awareness. This challenge was started by Justin Michaud and Danié Oliverio who encouraged others to join along, and several have followed suite, including my wife Heather.

Justin, who is in Philadelphia, PA, will be going above and beyond to raise awareness for veteran suicide today as he completes a 22 mile course he’s mapped around the city, stopping every mile to complete 22 push ups. Justin really goes the extra mile to prove cannabis doesn’t make you lazy, and he advocates regularly to see it made available as a safe medicine for veterans. Any soldier suffering from conditions like PTSD, pain from physical disabilities, and other combat related issues, deserves access to cannabis. Luckily, for veterans living in Colorado, PTSD was just added to the list of accepted medical marijuana conditions. This isn’t the case for several other states, like my home state of Missouri, where cannabis isn’t even legal yet.

This is another reason it’s so important we as a nation stand up for the protection and wellbeing of those men and women who chose to trade their time, and their lives, to protecting and serving our country. We owe the freedoms we do have, to their decisions to enlist, and their bravery to fight. It’s time the rest of us civilians stand and fight as well, and our war is on the prohibition of marijauna and hemp. Cannabis is known to be a safe alternative to opioids and other pharmaceutical drugs for treating countless medical conditions, including PTSD. It is our responsibility as citizens of this country, who our veterans have fought for, to do whatever we can to see cannabis legalized, and made available to everyone.       

How can you contribute? When it comes time to vote, show up and let your voice be heard on the ballot. Get involved with a local organization or advocacy group. I personally encourage you to join in the 22 Push Ups for 22 Days Challenge that Justin and Danié started. Post your videos on social media, challenge others to do the same, and help root on all those who are participating. You can start in at any time, and if 22 days is too much, then get in at least one video of 22 push ups and post it online. Tag @MJFITNUT for a repost on our Instagram. Your participation goes a long way in helping raise awareness for veteran suicide, and for cannabis as a medicine.

I want to take a moment to thank every single veteran for their contribution to this country. I also want to personally thank my grandfather and father for having served, and my brother Adrian for serving now. He comes home at the end of this year and plans on visiting for New Year’s. I can’t wait to see him, and show him everything incredible Colorado has to offer.   

Antonio is a sponsored cannabis athlete and the Co-Owner of Marijuana Fitness Nutrition, which encourages living a healthy and active lifestyle while promoting marijuana’s many benefits. A lifelong writer, with 15+ years of cannabis experience, he moved to Colorado in 2015, from Columbia, MO. It is here, in the incredible state of Colorado, where he’s found who he truly is. He earned his B.A. in Psychology at Columbia College while quickly climbing the ladder of bank management, before he and his wife decided to leave it all behind, to create more meaningful lives. He and his wife now advocate for their biggest passions, marijuana, fitness, and nutrition. Even when not advocating for the cause, Antonio spends his life orbiting around these three topics. If not in the gym, or enjoying Colorado’s many outdoor activities, he’s in the kitchen fueling organically for his next activity, all while consuming cannabis. On the rare chance you can catch him lounging, it will be on his plush couch, with his wife and two cats, watching Netflix through a veil of smoke.