When Jeff Sessions opened his mouth to spew out more of his dribbly old white man BS regarding the scheduling of cannabis in America, the industry stood up to applaud — because having an incompetent pensioner complain about something he clearly knows fuck-all about is one of the most ideal ways to introduce a contentious conversation into modern politics.
Politics is a game. It plays as an internal and external system: the things we (the general public) see, and the way it actually is inside the halls of the hill and White House.
In this game, We The People are often the pawns, but, who of us didn’t already know that?
Luckily, cannabis is the new paradigm of conversation in D.C., and this could be the Administration to federally legalize it for Americans.
The Opioid Crisis
According to the Council on Foreign Relations, the opioid crisis is arguably the largest pandemic since the introduction of crack cocaine in the 1980s and is set to keep growing well into the roaring 2020s. Some estimates claim that more than 800 people die per week from opioid-related overdoses, a figure which excludes accidental deaths from opioid-related causes.
The number of individuals embroiled in the opioid crisis is more than that, and has reached a level that has a direct impact on the U.S. economy — a time when the government usually decides to step in and do something.
You see, when the crack epidemic hit the U.S., it centered predominantly on African-American populations. As stated by Eric Lipton of The New York Times, the African-American constituency is a voting powerhouse for any state and federal leaders. So, the DNC put efforts in to federally fund programs like SAMHSA (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration) to help tackle ongoing issues targeting at-risk voting demographics.
Statistics collated by academics, government and non-profit organizations like the American Society of Addiction Medicine show the opioid crisis has hit women and adolescents more than any other demographics — two major caucuses for Trump. If the GOP wants to stay in control, it needs to concentrate efforts on helping their valuable voters.
One means of achieving this is through federally legalizing cannabis. Thanks to states like Colorado, Washington and California, the cannabis industry has evolved into more than just unpredictable flower. With the wealth of alternative options available for opioids, cannabis could be the Prozac to opioids’ Valium. It’s a long play, but considering the data supports its ability to curb opioid addictions; at this point the GOP can just say, “Why not?”
The Gay Marriage Play
A rumored tactic within Washington D.C. to get publicly unpopular bills passed is to overshadow their passing by signing another major bill into law.
As an example, in June of 2015, when most headlines were directed toward the passing of the same-sex marriage act, the NSA was also going through a series of huge reforms in response to Edward Snowden’s whistle-blowing.
Dubbed the USA Freedom Act, it was met with mixed reviews, though most critics of it agree it was pointless and maintain the new law does little to curb the overall surveillance of private citizens in the U.S.
Nonetheless, the gay marriage hype was great PR on the part of the DNC and few, if any, outlets decided to dissect the USA Freedom Act when the clicks were focused on marriage. Would it be too big of a stretch to assume Trump could legalize cannabis around the same time other, less popular, bills need passing?
Bye Bye, Big Tobacco
Other than British immigrants rolling up spliffs in California, how many people do you know still smoke cigarettes — and plan on smoking them until they die?
Even though Big Tobacco continues to be one of the largest lobbying bodies in D.C. and across the GOP campaign trails, most of their stocks are hemorrhaging. Major tobacco companies like Philip Morris need to diversify, and it knows it.
Last month, the tobacco giant saw its worst day in a decade, suggesting it needs to figure out how to re-up their earnings, and quick. According to Forbes, Fool, MarketWatch, Fortune, just about every other major financial publication agrees tobacco is in trouble.
Could cannabis be the answer to Big T’s current collapse, and if so, will the corporations bring the lobbying force it has to gain federal legalization under the Trump Administration?
Big Pharma, Big Lobby
Economists and educators have argued, with a huge amount of validation, that the opioid crisis has been perpetuated by the financial system of the U.S. The “sell now, pay for it later” mentality of the country is what has allowed problems like the opioid crisis to flourish. Yet now, more than ever, the general public is turning against Big Pharma. With the potential for massive profits, major pharmaceutical companies are looking to break into the cannabis market, too.
Specialists in the field, like Zachary Slayback at the Foundation for Economic Education, only further validate this argument by pointing out the absurd pricing chosen by Big Pharma for their opioids is also why teenagers, and their mothers, eventually move from prescription drug abuse to purchasing the far cheaper cartel-trafficked heroin and fentanyl.
Republican and Democratic senators have already started calling out Big Pharma for its part in the opioid crisis, suggesting this major cash-cow for the industry is soon to be slaughtered. Even our Commander in Chief is publicly prevaricating about his ideas to end the opioid crisis. Though his ideas are somewhat archaic right now, he has the time to format a plan based on science, and not the death penalty.
The next big move for Big Pharma to make, and one that will probably see them reaping profits until the end of time? Cannabis.
Cannabis products have been researched for literally thousands of years for their healing properties. One of the main medical applications of cannabis by Big Pharma would be as a holistic chronic pain treatment. The potential revenue from such an application is well into the billions, so it’s only a matter of time before Big Pharma stops investing in pro-opioid propaganda, and starts putting their dollars into urging the federal legalization of cannabis.