AMerican Veteran 10

Matthew Thomas Kahl

August 19, 1977 ~ September 13, 2021 (age 44)

Obituary

Matthew Thomas Kahl, loving husband, father, brother, and a devoted friend, veteran and advocate, passed away Monday, Sept. 13, 2021 at his home in Divide.  He was born to Colonel Thomas Allen Kahl (USMC, retired) and Patricia Warner Kahl on August 19, 1977 in Manassas, Virginia, and spent his early years traveling as part of his military family to North Carolina, Norway, and Japan.

After graduating from Jacksonville High School in North Carolina, Matt attended Appalachian State University where he majored in Behavioral Neuroscience. In 2007 Matt enlisted in the U.S. Army.  He served in Afghanistan for over four years as a gunner in the 101st Airborne Division, 4th Brigade Combat Troop, 1/506 Infantry Regiment "Band of Brothers", Alpha Company.  After injuries sustained, Matt was discharged with full disability in 2011.

While Matt's injury and initial years after discharge were traumatic, they also held the seeds of the calling that would occupy the rest of his professional life.  After discharge Matt, like many veterans, suffered from debilitating PTSD, and his condition did not respond to the various painkillers, anti-anxiety drugs, and sleep medications prescribed to him. In 2013, however, Matt discovered that certain strains of cannabis provided relief from his symptoms that the prescription medicines did not. 

After this discovery, and now able to successfully manage his PTSD, Matt became a "new man" in his words, and one determined to help others as he had been helped.  Matt became one of the first registered hemp farmers in Colorado and the country, and served on the Colorado Department of Agriculture's Pesticide Advisory Committee.  Always intent on helping veterans, he became the Colorado state president of the Weeds for Warriors non-profit and the Director of Horticulture for the HeroGrown Foundation, both non-profits devoted to providing free cannabis to veterans suffering from PTSD.

As an activist, Matt was a strong voice for veterans suffering from PTSD.  Matt appeared on national tv shows like CBS This Morning and NBC Dateline to tell his story and advocate for veterans' health and access to medical marijuana.  He was the founder and director of the Veterans for Natural Rights, a non-profit organization devoted to the discovery and study of plant-based healing compounds.  He hosted 16:20, a radio series on the Veterans' Network featuring facts and stories about the uses of medical marijuana, and was featured in the 2019 documentary From Shock to Awe about veterans' struggles and recovery from PTSD.   Matt testified regularly at the state capitol advocating for veterans with PTSD, and was integral in the 2017 passage of SB17, the Colorado state law allowing medical marijuana in the treatment of PTSD. 

Matt is survived by his loving wife Aimee and his sons Gray and Noah; his parents Patricia and Thomas Kahl; and his brothers Nathan Kahl and Charles Kahl and their families.  Matt’s impact on his family and the community he served will forever be felt and missed.  A small family memorial is planned for Saturday, Sept. 18, at Mountain Memorial Funeral Home in Divide, with a larger public one to be announced later.  

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