If Voters Pass Marijuana Initiatives $2 Billion Could Be Generated In Just Four States

By Aaron Kesel

According to a report, the medical and recreational marijuana markets in four states could generate an estimated more than $2 billion in combined sales – provided voters pass legalization ballot initiatives on Nov. 6, Marijuana Business Daily reported.

If the states of Michigan, Missouri, North Dakota and Utah vote to pass medical marijuana or recreational use, they will generate a combined $2 billion dollars in annual sales within several years, according to MBD.

The website further reports that if all four states pass marijuana legislation, amending the federal  U.S. Controlled Substances Act may not be too far behind. This would allow each state to determine its own marijuana policies not governed by federal law.

It’s also worth noting that if the U.S. House flips to the Democrats, fullscale reform may follow.

“If Democrats are in charge (of the House), I think the momentum will be unstoppable,” U.S. Rep. Earl Blumenauer, an Oregon Democrat, said last week.

While Democrats winning the House may make reform a future possibility “it’s the people in leadership who have the power … and whether they want this to get done sooner or later,” Douglas Berman, an Ohio State University law professor who writes about marijuana policy wrote in a blog post.

In a break with his own administration’s policy under Attorney General Jeff Sessions, U.S. President Donald Trump has previously said he would support a legislative proposal leaving marijuana legalization to the states to decide.

Trump plans to pursue federally legalizing medical marijuana following next month’s midterm races, according to Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, a California Republican.

The Trump administration has made a “solid commitment” to reform marijuana laws, and the president has spoken in support of federally legalizing the plant for medical purposes, Rohrabacher told Fox Business Channel.

“I have been talking to people inside the White House who know and inside the president’s entourage,” Mr. Rohrabacher said, Fox Business reported. “I have talked to them at length. I have been reassured that the president intends on keeping his campaign promise.

“I would expect after the election we will sit down and we’ll start hammering out something that is specific and real,” he added. “It could be as early as spring of 2019, but definitely in the next legislative session.”

Attorney General Jeff Sessions has previously suggested that the Department of Justice may crack down on people who grow and sell marijuana, even in the now 30 some states that legalized the plant, echoing the drawn-out argument that it is still against federal law.

Federal laws currently classify marijuana as a Schedule I drug — the highest level of classification given to illegal drugs which unfairly puts it in the same category as heroin and ecstasy.

Sessions agrees with that classification and is against the legalization of medical marijuana.

“We need grown-ups in charge in Washington to say marijuana is not the kind of thing that ought to be legalized, it ought not to be minimized, that it’s in fact a very real danger,” Sessions said at a Senate hearing on recreational marijuana in April 2016.

Last year, Congress blocked a bill to allow veterans with PTSD access to medical marijuana as a substitute to big pharma’s opioids. Despite Sessions’ opposition to legalization medical marijuana, the drug has been shown to reverse a decade of rising opioid deaths in Colorado.

However, Congress isn’t giving Sessions the funds that he wants to start his revival of the war against marijuana, as Congress itself has increased support for the legalization of the drug and has denied Sessions money to fight his new crusade.

Sessions himself has previously claimed that marijuana causes violence and ordered harsher sentencing of non-violent drug offenders.

“Most of you probably know I don’t think America is going to be a better place when more people of all ages and particularly young people start smoking pot,” Sessions said during an exchange with reporters at the Justice Department. “I believe it’s an unhealthy practice and current levels of THC in marijuana are very high compared to what they were a few years ago.”

“We’re seeing real violence around that,” Sessions said. “Experts are telling me there’s more violence around marijuana than one would think and there’s big money involved.”

Since Congress didn’t give Sessions any money to fight his war on drugs, it remains to be seen how he will accomplish his goal; but his stance is clear as day:  he hates marijuana users, sellers and growers despite the growing support to finally legalize the drug for medical use within Congress.

That might be closer to reality than Sessions hopes if the House is flipped in favor of the Democrats. If the House is flipped and Michigan, Missouri, North Dakota and Utah vote to pass medical marijuana or recreational use the states will have a whole new revenue stream.

Aaron Kesel writes for Activist Post. Support us at Patreon. Follow us on Minds, Steemit, SoMee, BitChute, Facebook and Twitter. Ready for solutions? Subscribe to our premium newsletter Counter Markets.

Image credit: The Anti-Media

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As Overdose Deaths Soar To Record Highs, FDA Approves New Painkiller Thats 1,000X More Powerful Than Morphine

Purdue Pharma and other pioneers of powerful opioid painkillers probably felt a twinge of regret on Friday when the FDA approved a powerful new opioid painkiller that’s 10 times stronger than fentanyl  – the deadly synthetic opioid that’s been blamed for the record number of drug overdose deaths recorded in 2017 – and 1,000 times more powerful than morphine, ignoring the objections of lawmakers and its own advisory committee in the process.

After all that trouble that purveyors of opioids like Purdue and the Sackler family went to in order to win approval –doctoring internal research and suborning doctors to convince the FDA to approve powerful painkillers like OxyContin despite wildly underestimating the drug’s abuse potential – the agency might very well have approved those drugs any way? And opioid makers might have been able to avoid some of the legal consequences stemming from this dishonesty, like the avalanche of lawsuits brought by state AGs.

What’s perhaps even more galling is that the FDA approved the drug after official data showed 2017 was the deadliest year for overdose deaths in US history, with more than 70,000 recorded drug-related fatalities, many of which were caused by powerful synthetic opioids like the main ingredient in Dsuvia, the brand name under which the new painkiller will be sold.

Dsuvia

Dsuvia is a 3-millimeter tablet of sufentanil made by AcelRx. It’s a sublingual tablet intended to provide effective pain relief in patients for whom most oral painkillers aren’t effective. The FDA’s advisory committee voted 10-3 to recommend approval of the drug, a decision that was accepted by the FDA on Friday. The agency justified its decision by insisting that Dsuvia would be subject to “very tight” restrictions.

“There are very tight restrictions being placed on the distribution and use of this product,” said FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb in a written statement Friday regarding his agency’s approval of Dsuvia. “We’ve learned much from the harmful impact that other oral opioid products can have in the context of the opioid crisis. We’ve applied those hard lessons as part of the steps we’re taking to address safety concerns for Dsuvia.”

Still, some of the agency’s actions looked to critics like attempts to stifle internal criticism. For example, the agency scheduled the advisory committee vote on a day where the chairman of the committee, who was opposed to approval, could not attend – while circumventing its normal vetting process, despite the fact that the member in question had notified the agency of his unavailability months beforehand.

But the FDA rejected any and all criticisms related to Dsuvia being sold as a street drug by insisting that the risk of diversion (when doctor-prescribed drugs are illicitly sold on the black market) was low because the drug would only be prescribed in hospital settings, and wouldn’t be doled out at pharmacies. But critics said that, given its potency, Dsuvia would “for sure” be diverted at some level. They also rejected the FDA’s argument that Dsuvia satisfied an important need for pain treatment: offering rapid, effective relief for obese patients or others lacking easily accessible veins.

While a niche may eventually be found for Dsuvia, “it’s not like we need it…and it’s for sure, at some level, going to be diverted,” said Dr. Palmer MacKie, assistant professor at the Indiana University School of Medicine and director of the Eskenazi Health Integrative Pain Program in Indianapolis. “Do we really want an opportunity to divert another medicine?”

Fortunately for Dsuvia’s manufacturer, AcelRx, these public health risks pale in comparison to the enormous profits that the company stands to reap from sales. The company anticipates $1.1 billion in annual sales, and hopes to have its product in hospitals early next year.

It goes without saying that cancer patients and others suffering from life threatening illnesses have a legitimate need for effective pain relief. But when the FDA says Dsuvia is needed in the hospital setting, it probably isn’t telling the whole story. Because, as the Washington Post pointed out, the medication’s development was financed in part by the Department of Defense, which believes Dsuvia will be an effective treatment for emergency pain relief on the battlefield – like when a soldier gets his legs blown off after accidentally stepping on an IUD.

Meanwhile, the Department of Justice’s Jeff Sessions-backed war on medical marijuana continues despite President Trump’s token resistance.

Cannabis and Marijuana in the News

Welcome to Green Winds of Change

We are a cannabis and medical marijuana news site providing informative articles and latest news and updates on the changing climate around cannabis in the United States, and around the globe.

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