In addition to the elevated mood of cannabis fans in the wake of the weedslide recreational pot victories in California, Maine, Massachusetts, Nevada during the November 8 elections, it also has an unexpected side effect: a big fat headache for Big Pharma.
That’s because, despite multimillion dollar spending against cannabis by pharmaceutical companies and superpacs, medical marijuana measures also prevailed in Arkansas, North Dakota and Florida. The Sunshine State’s ballot initiative earned 71 percent approval, making Florida the largest southern state to approve medical cannabis.
While We Get High, They Go Low
Not surprisingly, it’s always about the Benjamins for Big Pharma, who make billions selling painkillers and other medications that cannabis can often compete with much more safely and economically. As noted by The Free Thought Project, citing a recent study by the University of Georgia researchers:
“National overall reductions in Medicare program and enrollee spending when states implemented medical marijuana laws were estimated to be $165.2 million per year in 2013. The availability of medical marijuana has a significant effect on prescribing patterns and spending in Medicare Part D.”
The Washington Post’s Wonkblog amplified those findings recently in a striking chart that “shows why Pharma companies are fighting medical marijuana” noting that the “typical physician in a medical marijuana state prescribes 1,826 fewer prescriptions for pain killers in a given year.”
Less is more, especially when we’re talking about dangerous opioids. Yet sometimes, as Nobel Prize in Literature winner Bob Dylan once wrote, “Money doesn’t talk, it swears.”
Case, or curse, in point: Marijuana Business Daily reports that Insys Therapeutics, the developer of the opioid Fentanyl, which has led to an epidemic of overdoses throughout the nation this year, donated $500,000 to oppose Arizona’s recreational measure, the only such initiative that failed in the November 8 elections.