My name is Robert Roundtree and I’m the publisher of FloridaMarijuana.net and a veteran of the U.S. Navy. I entered the Navy with high hopes and expectations. I aced the exam with a 99 on the ASVAB, the highest score one can obtain. I hoped that I would become the best Aviation Electronics Technician the Navy had ever seen. That would all go up in smoke after the Thanksgiving weekend I decided to consume cannabis.
After serving just about two years in the Navy and finally getting to my first duty station at NAS JAX AIMD I went home for Thanksgiving and consumed cannabis. Upon returning to base after the holiday, there was a routine random urinalysis and my name was on the board. It was the first time I was selected for a random UA since I joined the Navy. Prior to entering the Navy it took me 9 weeks to clean my system of cannabis and I was well aware with how long it can take to leave ones system. I knew I had a great chance at failing, and went and filled the cup. The results came back and I was dirty for THC.
My command sent me to Captains Mast and I was awarded an Other Than Honorable discharge for THC use, busted down in rank, sent to restriction barracks, the geedunk and began the wait for out processing. At this point I was convinced my life was over. During transitioning we were told we could never get a good job, or be able apply for financial aid. We were even told we would not be able to find housing. The sailors being separated OTH were basically sold a story of despair and no hope. The famous quote they always liked to say was you won’t be able to get a job at McDonalds. I was devastated and was so ashamed that I lied to my family for many years about why I was discharged.
DD214 Seperation Document Social Security # Redacted.
HK244 is the separation code for Drug Use, and in this case it was THC. See the additional records below for the drug screen.
Upon leaving the military, I was devastated and began a downward spiral into depression and substance abuse that nearly killed me. I was so depressed and began abusing the prescription pain pills that I received from an injury to my back. The next thing I knew I was buying and selling pills and all kinds of other substances. I received a much needed intervention from my family and recovered from the substance abuse. Ironically I learned through my substance abuse treatment that I had been self medicating with cannabis since I was a kid. I use cannabis to treat the PTSD from the childhood trauma I suffered as well as muscle spasms and spinal injuries.
This experience of completely hitting rock bottom lit a fire underneath me to change the laws. I made a personal commitment to myself to continue advocating for veterans/active duty and cannabis until the laws are changed and veterans and active duty service members can use cannabis as a treatment route. Receiving an OTH from the Navy for using cannabis nearly killed me because of the self destructive path it sent me down. In the end it was cannabis that saved me from death. I began getting involved and launched this medical marijuana educational website and found some veterans organizations to work with.
My story is not unique, I have met many veterans that were discharged other than honorably for cannabis use, and that is something that is going to change. I am not ashamed that I was discharged for using cannabis, because I know there was nothing wrong with using cannabis. I do not ask for forgiveness for being discharged because I consciously broke the rules and accept full responsibility. No one forced me to consume cannabis, just like no one has forced me to make it a life long pursuit to make legalization a reality.
I don’t talk about my story in depth that often, and this is just a slice of the large pie, but it’s a large slice. It’s a slice that provides much of the fuel and the fire needed to work tirelessly around the clock with policy makers and inustry executives to create programs that will help our veterans. I will continue to work around the clock until it is no longer an offense to use medical cannabis while on active duty. So far I have been able to help accomplish a lot for veterans with the help of like minded individuals and organizations
Had I not been kicked out of the Navy for cannabis use, I would have never become the advocate that I am. My passion for helping veterans is a direct result of me being discharged other than honorably from the Navy. It’s interesting looking back at how the road I took ended up where it did. My path has gone up and down and all around but one thing has remained consistent, cannabis.
The headline of this story ends with how I’m grateful for the Navy kicking me out for cannabis use and this is why. Had I not been kicked out and nearly killed myself with self destructive behavior, I would not be nearly as passionate as I am in regards to advocating for cannabis reform and our veterans. The experiences I went through are what made me so passionate about ending prohibition and helping our veterans. I was fortunate enough to meet some amazing people while transitioning out of the Navy. My best friend from the Navy, Jeremy Federici, is also in the cannabis industry as a manager of Clear Choice Cannabis, Washington state’s #1 Dispensary.
I’ve been a lifelong user of cannabis since I was 11 years old and I’ve suffered countless traumatic events as a result of cannabis use because of prohibition. I have been robbed at gunpoint for an ounce of flower. I have been brutally assaulted by the Alachua County Sheriffs Office. I was also arrested and charged with four felonies for a jar of infused coconut oil in Arizona. I was a legal patient and Arizona has reciprocity, but that didn’t matter. Luckily the ridiculous charges were reduced to a misdemeanor. I’ve lost jobs over the use of it, lost my navy career, and lost my ultra conservative side of my family that doesn’t approve.
All of these traumatic events were a direct result of the prohibition of cannabis, and my commitment to using a natural plant medicine. I’m grateful that I had to go through all of this, because It made me the passionate cannawarrior that I am. Nothing is going to stop me on this mission to free the plant. Nothing is going to stop the movement from changing the laws until humans are no longer persecuted for their choice of using cannabis.