Helping heroes: John Lopez is using medical marijuana to continue helping veterans
Medical marijuana has long been a discussed treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) that some veterans have sworn helps them with many aspects of life. Be it, back pain, headaches, sleep problems or any of the other common, and often more severe problems associated with former active-duty military personnel, medical marijuana has come to the rescue, providing a wide variety of uses. For John Lopez, former Army combat engineer and veteran of the war in Afghanistan, most known for his work with the K-9s for Camo nonprofit that focuses its efforts on pairing rescue dogs with veterans, the journey in medical marijuana has only just begun.
K9s For Camo provides veterans with service dogs trained to support a variety of needs, a cause close to heart for Lopez. Veterans afflicted by conditions ranging from mobility issues to post-traumatic stress disorder, even those suffering from seizures, or diabetes are able to be partnered with a specially trained service companion. The K9s assist their veterans in navigating physical challenges while simultaneously improving their quality of life on a daily basis.
Beyond the immediately visible benefits, the most heartening change may be in what happens next. With their K9s by their side, veterans are revitalized, feeling more secure and comfortable in living while finding a renewed passion and enthusiasm for daily life and adventure.
From medical marijuana patient to entrepreneur
Lopez set off to join the many others that received licensing for a medical marijuana business. When asked about his journey into the cannabis industry, Lopez said “I use medical cannabis for back pain, neck pain, I have a liver condition that doesn’t allow me to take pain pills. As soon as I could, I got the information together and I applied for the licenses. It just made sense.” With that, he was off to battle the industry and in November of 2020, he opened Old Route 66 Wellness, which was the first dispensary to open in Springfield. In March 2021, Lopez opened the Ozark dispensary location.
John Lopez’s newest ventures are Zen Cannabis and Bison Infused. The Zen Cannabis brand offers 6 different cannabis-infused products, including chocolates and nano-drinks. When describing Bison Infused pre-rolls and vape cartridges he disclosed the brand’s slogan, “Nothing hits like a bison.”
Lopez’s support for veterans continues with his medical marijuana businesses, with revenue from the state’s marijuana sales tax being set aside for veterans. He noted, “since revenue from the 4 percent state sales tax is set aside for veteran services, each patient is doing their own small part to support those who’ve served our country.” Since the Missouri medical marijuana program’s inception, nearly $14 million in funds from tax revenue has been distributed to the Missouri Veterans Commission.
As the interview came to a close, Mr. Lopez commented on his future projects with excitement saying “I can’t give too many details, but let’s just say there are new partnerships in the works”