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Oklahoma Vice: Iraq War veteran says he uses marijuana to treat PTSD

Army veteran Austin Eugene Constuble says marijuana helps him keep the ghosts of war at bay.

Constuble, 31, of Bartlesville, is facing up to life in prison for allegedly growing 11 marijuana plants in an out building on his grandmother's property. 

He claims he uses marijuana to help him with post traumatic stress disorder, a traumatic brain injury and seizures after serving in the Iraq War. 

 "It will take me from being uncontrollable in my mind to calmed down," Constuble said. "Without it, I can't even calm down. I can't wrap my mind around a things.  It sucks."

Constuble has a service dog that helps him with his PTSD and seizures.

 Since returning from the military, Constuble has struggled with suicidal thoughts and claims he has experienced two blackouts where he ended up attempting to hang himself. His service dog, named Maximus Desimus Maridus, saved his life, he said.

"I really don’t know what happened," Constuble said. "I went into a PTSD fit, went into a tree and didn't even know it."

Constuble spent nine months in Iraq in 2005, where he worked as a combat engineer and an explosive ordnance disposal specialist. 

In Iraq, Constuble was shot at, sustained injuries from a car bomb and also rescued injured children from school that had been bombed, he said. 

He also befriended a small boy with Down's Syndrome named Zamir who lived near his Army post. Zamir's father had a small storefront behind the military camp.  

 "I would see his dad carrying him around and I got real close to him when I shouldn't have," Constuble said. "I fell in love with the kid like he was my own." 

Constuble says Zamir was eventually kidnapped by insurgents and left in front of the Army base with an artillery shell in his lap.

"And well, I had to do what I had to do," Constuble said. 

Constuble is accused of cultivation of a controlled substance-marijuana, a felony punishable up to life in prison in Oklahoma. 

According to an affidavit filed in Washington County District Court, Constuble's grandmother called the police to report he was growing pot in a storage building on her property.

Police discovered 11 marijuana plants growing in 5-gallon buckets in the building, as well as growing lamps and hand-written notes about the plants.  

Constuble is slated to appear in Washington County District Court in October. He has pleaded not guilty and hopes to use his PTSD as a defense, something Washington County prosecutors are fighting.  

Pot activists in Oklahoma are rallying around Constuble and have launched a Facebook campaign. 

Since being charged, Constuble has heard from supporters from as far away as Australia, he said. 

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Brianna Bailey

Brianna Bailey joined The Oklahoman in January 2013 as a business writer. During her time at The Oklahoman, she has walked across Oklahoma City twice, once north-to-south down Western Avenue, and once east-to-west, tracing the old U.S. Route 66.... Read more ›

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