Less opiates, more pot

Okay, cannot say that this is really the solution, but there actually is some evidence for the efficacy of marijuana in long-term pain management.  What is really, really really dumb is to use the opioid epidemic as a reason to abandon any or our moronic policies on marijuana.  Alas, hello, Massachusetts!  From the NYT.

But this largely liberal region is struggling with the devastating effect of opiate abuse, which is disrupting families, taxing law enforcement agencies and taking lives. And many lawmakers and public officials are balking at the idea of legalizing a banned substance, citing potential social costs…

But the opiate crisis, in which heroin, fentanyl and other drugs have killed more than 2,000 people in New England in the last year, is a substantial stumbling block, complicating efforts throughout the region and figuring into anti-legalization political alliances…

The heroin epidemic was at the center of debate in Massachusetts last week, when a coalition of state leaders — including Gov. Charlie Baker, a Republican, and Speaker Robert A. DeLeo of the House, a Democrat — announced a campaign against the initiative…

But in a statement, Mr. Baker argued that legalization would “threaten to reverse progress combating the growing opioid epidemic so this industry can rake in millions in profits.”

Right.  Because marijuana is a contributing factor in the opioid epidemic.  Or not!  I do love this response:

The groups said opponents of legalization were unfairly conflating heroin and marijuana.

“There is no more evidence that using marijuana leads to heroin than there is that riding a tricycle leads to joining the Hells Angels,” Jim Borghesani, the campaign’s communications director, said in a statement.

Look, I’ve never consumed any marijuana.  I hope I never have any medical/physical conditions where it would make sense for me to do so.  But our policy about this drug could hardly be more head-in-the-sand, backward, anti-science and it’s long past time for that to change.

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About Steve Greene
Professor of Political Science at NC State http://faculty.chass.ncsu.edu/shgreene

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