Every transaction performed on the PUFFScoin blockchain – whether it be a simple balance transfer between accounts, a user calling a smart contract function within a hosted decentralized application, or deploying a suite of smart contracts – costs a transaction fee denominated as “gas”. On many similar code-based projects, these funds are added to the block reward received by blockchain miners who use their personal computers computational services to participate in the consensus engine that drives the PUFFScoin blockchain. The PUFFScoin development team decided to use these funds as a form of decentralized philanthropy. The Veterans Endowment Fund will be a community-governed project with involvement from representatives of all participating industries.
The Veterans Endowment Fund will be used to purchase medical cannabis for Canadian Veterans and first responders, especially those treating wartime PTSD with cannabinoid therapy. Veterans Affairs Canada’s (VAC) current reimbursement policy for medical cannabis has established a limit of 3 grams of dried marijuana daily, or its essential equivalent in a concentrate form, unless the veteran in question has a favourable decision for an exceptional approval, a process about as fraught with red tape and bureaucracy as one would expect. This is further limited by a maximum unit price of CAD $8.50 per gram (~$6.50 USD) and must be purchased from an approved dispensary. Some Canadian dispensaries have embraced compassionate care ideals and have maintained assistance to those affected, but still too many fall through the cracks, or find barriers to prove their injuries are resultant of service and remain in need.
Regardless of the reasons behind the reduction from 10 grams daily veterans were entitled to, much harm was done. Simple considerations like body mass, ingestion method, cannabinoid tolerances, etc were ignored. Advocacy groups have cropped up online, petitions have been signed and delivered to government, and perhaps they will recognize the true scope of this issue but legislative and governmental policy change is often glacial in its implementation. Someone needs to step in and fill the void, not only for the military veterans – but for paramedics, firefighters, police officers, search and rescue personnel – for those who suffer economic hardship and a lack of pharmaceutical insurance. Too many hoops to jump through, far too many draconian regulations.
In the fiscal year 2015-2016, VAC spent $247.8 million dollars on treatment benefits for veterans, approximately $21 million of that amount was spent on cannabis for medical purposes. In the six months between April and September of 2016, this figure rose to $31 million, $10 million more than the entire year before. It was this increase in cost towards the health and well being of the veterans who had served the nation that became the Federal government’s justification for reducing the available daily funding for the supply of medicine veterans rely on.
Cost savings should be a secondary consideration compared to the health and well-being of veterans, although the Auditor General made it clear that Veterans Affairs Canada is also required to ensure good value for money in the administration of its programs. We think we can do better, and provide value to veterans, offering as much subsidization as possible to provide an improvement in the quality-of-life of Canadian veterans.
We would be thrilled to have the opportunity to supply the same sort of service in other jurisdictions, and as legislation worldwide readjusts itself against the antiquated and misrepresented prohibitions on cannabis, we will explore how to scale the program towards providing these services further afield. There are state level groups advocating for veteran’s rights to medical cannabis, and studies are being conducted internationally to test the efficacy of cannabis therapy for PTSD. We will partner with various veterans and cannabis support groups to build decentralized applications specific to each organization’s needs. See MFT and HER0x as examples.
The Veterans Endowment Fund is the cornerstone of the PUFFScoin project. We believe that cryptocurrency MUST be something larger than a digital financial system. This project is also very personal. My name is Abvhiael Stuart and I am a veteran. I suffer from wartime PTSD, and what the doctors call “recalcitrant epilepsy”. I am not pensioned off through VAC, that was a personal decision, I simply disappeared from society from nearly fifteen years. My war was decades ago, yet I still wake up in the middle of the night, drenched in sweat, senses halfway between then and now. I use medical cannabis to help me sleep thru the night and to deal with the stress I encounter in the everyday world that brings me back to combat mentality and overwhelming panic attacks. I was required to use street-level dealers with a questionable product for years; I have also used federally licensed producers; I have also used the dark web. I have done what was needed to ensure that my reversion to combat-readiness and paranoia under stressor situations was not an acute phenomenon, to help deal with daily grand mal epileptic seizures that eventually put me out of the traditional workforce, and beyond insurable reach for cannabis.
Last year, after finding a well-educated physician and getting my prescription for medical cannabis, I was able to begin consuming appropriate measures of cannabis to medicate myself. My seizures, once daily occurrences, are now months between episodes. I sleep thru the night, I manage my panic attacks better. Cannabis has absolutely given me back a great measure of a quality of life. Last autumn, a friend I had served with posted on social media that he was having a bad day and that getting out for a ride on his motorbike would be the perfect thing to blow the memories out of his head, except that his acknowledgedly irrational fear of landmines buried in his front yard. Instead, he shuttered the curtains and avoided the world for the day. He had his prescription for medical cannabis, couldn’t afford to smoke as much as he needed to keep the demons at bay. And my friend is just one of the tens of thousands of veterans who benefit from cannabinoid therapy to treat PTSD and other ailments, for whom the arbitrary rate of three grams a day does not do enough. PUFFScoin is built to reach those vets, those first responders who put everything on the line to support us as a society, and who then suffer in silence and stigma from PTSD. We want to help every one of them.
For me, and for all of us working on PUFFScoin and The Leafy Cauldron Apothecary, this project is intensely personal for innumberable reasons and is the sort of legacy we want to leave on this world. We have built PUFFScoin to give back to our wounded veterans and first responders, we have built it to make their lives perceptively and perpetually BETTER.