Simply put, Big Pharma has been a long time opponent of legalizing medical marijuana as it threatens to ruin its business and drop the market cap for pharmaceutical drug companies.
Even though medical cannabis has been legalized in more than half of the US states, all of Canada and in Mexico, prices of drugs that could be replaced by cannabis are still on the rise.
Worse yet, prices of drugs that are made from the cannabis flower are being artificially inflated in places where medical marijuana is legal, but most recently in Germany of all places.
This is due to the fact that the Big Pharma has so far only competed with the black market when it comes to marijuana, but now all of that is starting to change.
Lobbyists are doing work
Ben Cohen, of US News, said in an article:
“For years, large corporations and well-heeled lobbyists have blocked the legalization of marijuana for medical use or recreational use in order to protect their own profits”.
Some companies have done that from the shadows, while other pharmaceutical companies openly funded programs against legalizing medical marijuana.
One such company was Insys Therapeutics, which makes products containing fentanyl and other opioids, as well as a synthetic version of THC.
In 2016, Insys Therapeutics donated $500,000 USD to defeat a marijuana legalization measure that was voted on in Arizona, which failed to pass, only getting 48.7% of the votes needed.
It’s sufficient to say that Big Pharma is perhaps one of the strongest lobbying groups in the world, and we’ve even heard that from President Trump personally:
“Pharma has a lot of lobbies, a lot of lobbyists and a lot of power,” Trump said at a press conference in 2017.
Why exactly are these lobbyists doing their work so hard? Well, simply put, because the pharmaceutical companies have most to lose in cannabis legalization.
The effect of pop culture
Dozens, if not hundreds of symptoms and conditions for which pharmaceutical drugs are sold and prescribed for can be treated with cannabis flower and drugs made from cannabis extracts.
Here is a list of some of the drugs that will not be in demand as much once cannabis replacements become available:
- Anti-Anxiety drugs
- Seizure meds
- Sleeping pills
Painkillers and sleeping pills are perhaps some of the most addictive drugs on the legal market, and they are also some of the most sold drugs in the world.
Just ask around, I bet you won’t hear anyone say: “Oh, I’ve never heard of Xanax or Zoloft…”.
Xanax is so popular among the youth that there’s a whole trend revolving around popping these pills for fun and relaxation.
Rappers are naming albums after Xanax, Actavis, Codeine, and it’s just not right. We are even seeing rappers brag about their addictions to “lean” like it’s something to be proud of.
The rise of pill prescriptions over the last 20-30 years has directly led to a pill-popping mania that now has people jumping on the bandwagon, and it’s not funny at all. Far from it, it’s dangerous.
Why Germany of all places?
Germany legalized medical marijuana in March 2017, and since then its program has had a huge influx of patients.
Bit by bit, prices of treatments based on cannabis flowers rose to between $350 and $2,600, more than four times as much as pharmaceutical drops or tablets.
The way medical marijuana law in Germany is set up is as follows:
“Patients can access cannabis on prescription and charge health insurance companies for it. Doctors treating patients are obligated to provide clear proof and justification for the therapy”.
Could you imagine something like that happening in America? Of course not, because in America insurance companies would freak out, go broke overnight and then quickly file for bankruptcy.
Something similar happened in Germany just a few days ago, but on a bit smaller scale.
A German health insurance company, Techniker-Krankenkasse (TK) alongside with the University of Bremen, has recently started questioning the effectiveness of medical marijuana.
TK published a report saying that just in 2017 nearly 16,000 patients have applied for reimbursement of medical marijuana costs.
“It is unclear which groups of patients cannabis helps in which dose — and in which form it should best be administered,” University of Bremen professor and author of the study Gerd Glaseke said.
A review of several studies focused on cannabis showed that its use led to the possible improvement in cataracts, and scientists have confirmed that it can stimulate appetite in AIDS patients.
The demand for medical marijuana has skyrocketed since March 2017, and Germany is well on its way to having one of the bigger medical marijuana programs in Europe.
Another thing going in their favor is that the German government has signed a supply deal with Aurora Cannabis.
In fact, Aurora acquired a German cannabis distributor Pedanios in a deal that cost them around $23 million dollars.
That way, Aurora increased the average price per gram sold, which jumped to $8.36 from $5.96 in the same quarter last year.
So, to answer the original question, how is Big Pharma forcing us to buy drugs instead of cannabis — by lobbying politicians, riding the culture wave, funding anti-cannabis campaigns and thriving on cannabis shortages.