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Cannabis legalization? |

Needless to say, the attorneys at are no fans of Big Pharma. We are also strong proponents of the legalization of cannabis. Our view is that money is the only reason that cannabis remains illegal. In other words, the war on drugs as it relates to cannabis is really a financial campaign against a cheap, and effective, medicine.

Thankfully, we are not alone in this view. The American public is starting to see that the continued federal prohibition on cannabis and its classification as a Schedule 1 drug is absurd. It seems to us that those who remain opposed to legalization are often funded by the pharmaceutical companies. Their opposition to medical cannabis has nothing to do with healthcare and everything to do with them making money.  

For example, research is confirming that painkiller abuse and drug overdoses are lower in states that allow medical cannabis. These studies have typically showed that when medical cannabis is available, patients that suffer from chronic pain are increasingly choosing it over powerful and deadly prescription narcotics.  Cannabis, in contrast, has never killed a single human being in all of history.  

There are now 25 states that allow medical cannabis in some form. In the 17 states since 2013 that voted to pass laws to allow medical-cannabis, prescriptions for painkillers and other pharmaceutical drugs fell sharply compared with states that did not have any medical-cannabis laws in place.

The drops were actually quite significant. In states where medical cannabis is available, the average doctor prescribed 265 fewer doses of antidepressants, 486 fewer doses of seizure medication, 541 fewer anti-nausea doses and 562 fewer doses of anti-anxiety medication annually.   But most strikingly, the typical physician in the states where medical cannabis is available to people prescribed 1,826 fewer doses of painkillers in a given year. 

1,826 fewer painkiller prescriptions per doctor are likely to cause some concern among pharmaceutical companies. These companies have long been at the forefront of opposition to cannabis reform, funding research by anti-cannabis academics and funneling dollars to groups that oppose cannabis legalization. 

In what may be the most concerning finding for the pharmaceutical industry, analysis has shown an enormous savings to Medi-care cost in the 17 states that allow medical cannabis. They found that about $165 million dollars was saved in the 17 medical cannabis states in 2013. The estimated annual Medicare prescription savings would be roughly half a billion dollars if all 50 states were to implement similar programs. 

We note that policymakers tend to be focused on the perceived negatives of cannabis legalization, such as use by teens or drugged driving, but the potential benefits, like reduced reliance on dangerous pharmaceutical painkillers are overlooked. Given the magnitude of the prescription painkiller problem (it accounts for over 16,000 deaths a year) isn't it's worth taking a serious look at the use of medical cannabis for chronic pain patients? Prescription painkillers are highly addictive and deadly. In the U.S., prescription drug overdoses kill more people than suicide, guns or car crashes. The CDC now calls prescription painkiller abuse an "epidemic." strongly believes that patients and consumers should always educate themselves before ingesting any medicine or allowing any surgery or medical procedure. Ultimately it is up to the individual to protect their own health and well being. The opposition to legal cannabis is yet another example of why Big Pharma won’t do it for you.

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