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Attorney General Sessions shocked marijuana reformers by finally admitting marijuana may have some medical value. [SESSIONS CLIP: “I think there can be, may well be some benefits from medical marijuana and it’s perfectly appropriate to study that.”] Sessions, however, continued to deny marijuana’s role in reducing opiate deaths. [SESSIONS CLIP: “I do not believe at this point that there’s some sort of inverse relationship between increased marijuana use and reducing of deaths… And I don’t believe that will be sustained in the long run.”] Sessions also stopped short of assuring legal states that their operations would escape federal action. [SESSIONS CLIP: “We have very few, almost zero, virtually zero small marijuana cases. But if they are a big dealer and illegally acting, and violating federal law, our federal agents may work that case.”]
A bipartisan group of US Congressmen stood in the House to deliver 20 minutes of speeches in support of marijuana law reform at the federal level. Congressman Earl Blumenauer, a Democrat who as a state legislator helped Oregon become the first state to decriminalize marijuana in 1973, noted the increased popularity of marijuana legalization among Republicans. [BLUMENAUER CLIP: “Increasingly there’s evidence that a majority of Trump voters support adult use. Medical marijuana is like the 4th of July – it’s almost universally accepted.”] Congressman Matt Gaetz, a Republican from Florida, announced he’d signing on to a medical marijuana bill with a notorious opponent of marijuana reform, Congressman Bob Goodlatte. [GAETZ CLIP: “It will increase the number of people who are growing medical grade cannabis for research purposes.”] Congressman Carlos Curbelo, another Florida Republican, called out his party for putting government between a patient and their doctor when it comes to state-legal medical marijuana. [CURBELO CLIP: “Mr. Speaker, there are a lot of colleagues in this chamber who say, ‘people should be able to buy whatever health insurance or get whatever kind of health coverage they want. The government should interfere as little as possible.’ And I agree. But on this issue, there seems to be a hypocrisy.”]
Karma bites back against a prohibition-supporting Arizona pharmaceutical company as the FDA denies Insys Therapeutics’ request to protect their synthetic cannabinoid drug. Insys, which came under fire recently as several of its executives faced charges concerning over-prescription of its oral fentanyl spray, Subsys, had requested that the Food & Drug Administration prohibit other drug manufacturers from marketing generic equivalents of its liquid dronabinol formula called Syndros. FDA rejected the claims made by Insys. Professor Robin Feldman, an expert in the business of Big Pharma, told Marijuana Moment Insys’ petition is part of “a multipronged effort by the brand company to stave off generic entry as long as possible.” Feldman’s research has found that about four out of five such petitions to the FDA are ultimately denied.
Canada’s ruling Liberal Party has concluded that all drugs, not just marijuana, should be decriminalized. The resolution adopted by party members reads in part, “The Government of Canada should treat drug abuse as a health issue, expand treatment and harm reduction services and re-classify low-level drug possession and consumption as administrative violations.” Liberal MP Nathaniel Erskine-Smith: [ERSKINE-SMITH COMMENT: “This is about treating patients as patients and not as criminals. When you put it in that context I think a lot of Canadians would agree with the idea.”] The resolution points to the success of drug decriminalization in Portugal since 2001, noting, “the number of deaths from drug overdose has dropped significantly, adolescent and problematic drug use has decreased, the number of people in drug treatment has increased, the number of people arrested and sent to criminal courts has declined by 60%, and the per capita social cost of drug misuse has decreased by 18%.”