Letter to the Editor: SB 43

California lawmakers have again decided that veterans’ voices don’t matter. But this time, the consequences stretch far beyond my community.

Senator Eggman’s SB 43 would expand the reasons someone can be held involuntarily and placed into a conservatorship. Simply put, conservatorships strip the “gravely disabled” of their civil rights and bodily autonomy, placing it in the hands of court appointees. By expanding the definition of “gravely disabled”, she is sacrificing the rights of too many to fix the blight created by politicians’ failed policies.

For veterans like me, every day is a battle. Acclimating to civilian life is particularly challenging, shown in the disproportionate rates veterans suffer from substance use disorder, homelessness and suicide. These ongoing issues have made vets familiar with involuntary holds, just not from the state. VA hospitals operate beyond state supervision and hold several against their will unnecessarily. By shifting toward this VA model, even veterans treating their PTSD with cannabis will fall prey to a system built against their best interest.

Who benefits from the expanded use of conservatorships in California? Is it for-profit mental health and hospital systems Senator Eggman is trained in? Jurisdictions tired of their homeless problem? A Governor looking to clean up the streets for his political ambitions?  How about all the above.

Those most in need suffer from a lack of sound policy and adequate resources, not mental capability. This misguided effort is not only an affront to our veterans, but a risky approach that will cost some people everything.

Sean Kiernan, CEO Weed For Warriors 

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