This is the testimony I gave Wednesday early morning as the last registered witness after 4 hours of previous testimony from over 60 individuals that began after 9 pm.
Chairman Price and Respected Members of the Committee,
My name is Ian Benouis and I am here representing myself in support of HB 2107.
I am a West Point graduate, former Blackhawk helicopter pilot, US Army officer and combat veteran who participated in Operation Just Cause in the Republic of Panama. This operation was the largest combat operation in US history focused directly on the War on Drugs.
I grew up in Hawaii in the 1970’s where cannabis was decriminalized and fully integrated in to the culture before DARE or the Green Harvest military cannabis eradication project left Hawaii with one of the nation’s worst meth epidemics.
I have been healing myself of childhood, multiple car accident and sexual trauma for over 25 years with cannabis and other medicinal plants as a practitioner of ethnobotany along with a spiritual practice.
I was a pharmaceutical representative for Pfizer here in Austin after I got out of the Army in 1990, where I witnessed firsthand the meteoric rise of the anti-depressants and synthetic opioids, before our current epidemics.
I am part of a number of non-profit organizations dedicated to healing veterans who have PTSD, addiction and TBI with cannabis and other plant medicines (Veterans for Entheogenic Therapy and Weed for Warriors Project).
I am a member of the team working on the documentary From Shock to Awe that chronicles the journeys of military veterans as they seek relief from PTSD with cannabis, ayahuasca and MDMA.
I was in Stoned Vets on Weediquette the cannabis focused series on Viceland on HBO with a number of other veterans protesting the VA’s policy on medical cannabis and trying to end the veteran suicide epidemic.
Exactly one year ago I took six veterans with PTSD to Peru in May for a 10-day plant diet including ayahuasca and other plant medicines with three Shipibo shaman brothers that are third generation plant medicine healers.
I also took some of the same veterans to Mexico for treatment with ibogaine and 5-Meo-DMT. This experience was released as a documentary in March 2016 entitled Soldiers of the Vine.
The reason that I can do any of my work to help our veterans reintegrate back in to society by washing off their war paint and healing the moral and spiritual injuries they came back with from war is because cannabis saved their lives to begin with.
Cannabis is a gateway to life. I have many brothers and sisters who are in this room today alive only because of cannabis. [I turn around and point to the other 10 veterans in the room, 9 of whom had testified previously over the past 4 hours]
Sadly there are many, many more that are not here because they do not have legal access to this medicine. Maintaining prohibition is a death sentence for these veterans, of which 1.7 million live in Texas. How many of these veteran’s lives matter?
By prohibiting what God created and gave to us a gift, Texas is maintaining a lie against the Creator. “Who is worse than one who invents a lie against the Most High”? Jesus said, “what goes in to one’s mouth does not defile that person, what comes out of one’s own mouth, that defiles that person.”
I urge you to uncover the truth about cannabis in each of your own hearts, and free the plant to fulfill the divine purpose that God it put in on the earth for, to heal humanity and sustain creation.
Aho, Thank you
I did want to tell them what the medicine told me in Peru when I asked God for more clarity and guidance on this path that I was in the process of choosing, but it didn’t seem that they were yet ready to be able to hear this.
Mother Ayahuasca told me loud and clear and I must have repeated it over 100 times to myself so I would never forget,
she said, “GROW THE PLANTS”
and I say, Amen with vegetal abundance as Texas goes green in 2017. I’ve been reminding us all of Job 12:8 “Ask the plants of the earth and they will teach you. That this is the handiwork of God.” Hallelujah!
Just say Know! Pharmastice Now! Let’s declare the drug war over and plant the green dividend.