Eric Goepel is an advocate and policy professional focused on the intersection between veteran health and cannabis. Eric is a U.S. Army veteran of the Iraq War, having served for seven years with six spent in the special operations community. After his military service, Eric worked as a defense contractor in Afghanistan before returning to school where he attended the University of California, Berkeley, graduating with a BA in political science.
During and after college, Eric worked in various policy roles in Washington, D.C., from a think tank to Senate staff to a non-profit, on national security and veterans’ affairs issues. At his time at the American Legion, the country’s largest wartime veteran association, Eric developed organizational initiatives and policies aimed at combatting the opioid epidemic. Spurred on by his drug policy work and realizing the importance of making cannabis available as a medicine, in 2018, alongside fellow Iraq War veteran Bill Ferguson, he founded the Veterans Cannabis Coalition.
The Veterans Cannabis Coalition is an effort dedicated to ending cannabis prohibition and driving the research and development of cannabis-based treatments. Since founding, on Capitol Hill VCC advocated for the first cannabis reform bill to pass Congressional committee, the VA Medicinal Cannabis Research Act, and testified before the House of Representatives Small Business Committee on the harms of prohibition and the promise of veteran entrepreneurship. In California, VCC established one of the first legally-compliant compassionate cannabis donation programs under state law SB-34 and is actively building a supportive network of patient home growers.