How does President Obama go from a 2004 Senate campaign saying “The war on drugs is an utter failure and I think we need to rethink and decriminalize our marijuana laws…” to his 2012 silence on the issue? Why would a man who smoked pot as a teen, “frequently, that was the point” and whose mother died from cancer go from a 2008 campaign promise that he wouldn’t be “using Justice Department resources to try to circumvent state laws” on medical marijuana to a 2011 war on medical marijuana states surpassing anything President George W. Bush ever attempted?
(Huffington Post) There are few industries with as much power in Washington as the pharmaceutical sector. Drug companies have spent $2.3 billion on lobbying and $183 million on campaign contributions since 1998, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. The industry also maintains a war chest for advertising and grassroots lobbying aimed at altering public opinion. The ready money serves as a strong deterrent against any legislative proposal that would lower costs for consumers and profits for the drug makers.
This is from the “Auction 2012” series and it goes in detail to explain how pharmaceutical lobbying killed two provisions in the Obama Health Care Plan that would have lowered prescription drug costs for patients. It also explains Big Pharma influence in killing the ability of Medicare to negotiate in bulk for lower prescription drug prices for seniors and maintaining a ban on import of lower cost prescription drugs from Canada.
So when when you know that two-thirds of patients at one clinic report substitution of marijuana for prescription drugs, when you know that medical marijuana states have the lowest prices for marijuana, you can’t help but think patients growing medicine in their yard or closet can’t be good for Big Pharma’s profits.
However, as pharmaceutical corporations keep squeezing the dollars out of patients’ pockets and into congresspeople’s war chests, they may be unintentionally creating more medical marijuana patients.
According to a 2010 Kaiser Family Foundation study, drug prescriptions rose by 39 percent while drug prices nearly doubled over the last decade. More and more individuals, hard pressed to pay for medications, are opting to abandon their prescriptions. In 2009, the number of patients who did not fill or pick up prescriptions increased by 23 percent from the previous year and 68 percent from 2006.
More people become aware of marijuana’s medical utility every day. As those prescriptions become less affordable, more people will clamor for the herbal alternative. More laws will pass, more prohibitions will fall, more people will know the truth about cannabis, the full utilization of this plant is inevitable. The only question is how many more people will suffer and how much longer will it take to finally realize legalization?