The question of why cannabis remains illegal becomes more unavoidable by the day, as scientific evidence mounts for its medicinal powers and states continue to decriminalize the plant. The legal drugs of alcohol and nicotine kill hundreds of thousands every year and have little to no medical value – but the ingestion of cannabis kills no one, and heals many.

The war on drugs itself is an utter failure by the metrics it was supposed to address – drug availability, drug prices and drug use. With the absence of any rational basis for prohibition, it begs the question of what actually sustains it.

We know the State profits immensely from the drug war, acquiring wealth and power by arbitrarily naming certain substances “illicit.” In the modern-day corporatocracy, certain industries profit as well, most notably prisons and various entities involved in State oppression.


In the area of cannabis, perhaps the biggest beneficiary to prohibition is the pharmaceutical industry. Big Pharma tried and mostly failed to defeat the groundswell movement of cannabis legalization in many states. But it seems to have a friend in the federal Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), which against all reason decided to keep cannabis a Schedule 1 Controlled Substance.

Big Pharma admitted that legal cannabis poses a threat to its profit, and that reality is underscored in a new analysis from New Frontier Data. If medical cannabis were adopted in all 50 states, it would siphon about $4.5 billion a year from the pharma industry.

“New Frontier Data identified nine conditions in particular to assess the impact of the legalization of cannabis would have on prescription drug use.

Among those, spending on treatments for chronic pain and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) represented about 60% of the total. Overall in 2016, it was estimated that patients spent nearly $14.3 billion and $10.6 billion, respectively, to treat chronic pain and PTSD. The costs to treat sleep disorders, anxiety, epilepsy, nerve pain, chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting (CINV), Tourette syndrome, and glaucoma collectively accounted for the other 40% dedicated toward treatments.

There is significant savings to be realized in the health care system both to consumers and the U.S. government. It is estimated that cannabis and related products can replace between $4.4 billion and $4.9 billion of current annual spending on those existing treatments.”

In a press release, New Frontier CEO Aguirre De Carcer said, “Looking at these numbers, it would appear that medical cannabis would be a drop in the bucket when it comes to impacting the total pharmaceutical industry. However, when you start to break down the numbers by specific sectors of the industry, like chronic pain or symptoms associated with chemotherapy, which are very lucrative markets for pharmaceutical companies, you will certainly see cannabis have a major impact.

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They referenced a July 2016 study which found that, on average, about 11 percent of patients in legal weed states are successfully replacing prescription drugs with medical cannabis. This, along with other studies, prompted New Frontier Data to look further into the dynamic of medical cannabis and pharmaceutical drugs.

A National Academies of Science study identified nine specific conditions where medical cannabis can have a beneficial role – including chronic pain and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) – which were used by New Frontier Data for their analysis. Another report showed that taxpayers could save $1.1 billion on Medicaid prescriptions annually if medical cannabis were legalized nationwide.

Any opportunity for alternatives that could result in reduced pharmaceutical drug use might present a compelling point of discussion from a public policy standpoint,said John Kagia, executive vice president of industry analytics at New Frontier.

The problem is, public policy is largely controlled by interests that have no desire to reduce profits by reducing prescription drug consumption, and have no desire to relinquish power by decriminalizing a medicinal plant that harms no one.

Judging by DEA chief Chuck Rosenberg, his agency will continue taking the lead in government’s war on people. Only a few days ago Rosenberg reminded us of the staggering, willful ignorance that guides the drug war, stating, “Marijuana is not medicine.

Justin Gardner is a peaceful free-thinker with a background in the biological sciences. He is interested in bringing rationality back into the national discourse, and independent journalism as a challenge to the status quo.
  • Speckintime

    Oh how we care, yet we never dare look to the heart of the matter.
    How men of great greed, get what they need, purses that only get fatter. 😮

    Marijuana must be illegal otherwise there might be no more cartel sponsored DEA sex parties .

    Illegal marijuana saves all of the money that legal marijuana takes away from the cartels and Black Ops funding.

    Then you have the poisonous petrochemical industry, the pharmaceutical industry, logging industry, the paper industry, alcohol and tobacco all under threat from legal marijuana.

    The war on drugs has become a fantastic way to turn ordinary citizens into criminals even when they are not involved in any other crimes.
    Illegal marijuana is an important tool for the police state, introducing many created young career criminals to their future with law enforcement.

    Marijuana laws make marijuana a gateway drug by exposing users to drugs they would never had come in contact with if marijuana were legal.

    Marijuana laws create a distrust in the populace for anything the government says, encouraging people to try drugs and synthetics that really are deadly, leading to greater profits for not only the medical industry but the funeral industry as well.

    Marijuana laws have created a very lucrative prison industry as well as prosperity from all the property and money that gets confiscated even when no charges are filed.

    Illegal marijuana adds so much to the economy that legalizing marijuana is just plain anti American.

    God Bless Harry Jacob Anslinger who tried so hard to protect white women from the non white savages. O.o

    • Completely accurate. I happen to be one of the innocent Americans whose home was confiscated unlawfully, and the lives of my children devastated by corrupt official orchestrating terrorism.

  • Charlie Picco

    Rosenberg , what can one expect from another fuckin zionist jew !

    • 174thandvyse

      What does the person’s religion have to do with the issue at hand?

    • junktex

      Just how do you know he’s a Zionist?I just know he happens to be right on this issue.

    • A Freedom Fighter

      Once someone has revealed they are a racist bigot or anti-Semitic it’s time to place the troll label directly on their forehead and ignore what they’re saying. Racism and bigotry are curable mental illnesses, do try and get some help!

  • A Freedom Fighter

    Who is against cannabis legalization in our nation today? Why do they want to keep cannabis illegal? The answer is easy and has nothing to do with public safety, just follow the money!
    * Politicians corrupted by money from corporations against cannabis legalization
    * Drug cartels and organized crime will lose $100,000,000,000 (100 BILLION) in cannabis sales forever in favor of legitimate business, regulation and taxation.
    * Corrupt DEA officials afraid of losing their jobs.
    * Court forced cannabis rehab centers will go out of business.
    * Police and Private prisons will lose federal grant money and up to 30% of their drug related “customers”. Well known contributors to anti legalization efforts.
    * Big pharmaceutical corporations are scared witless that cannabis will replace their multi-billion dollar addictive stranglehold on the US public because cannabis works better and has no physical addiction. Well known contributors to anti legalization efforts.
    * The alcoholic beverage industries are the largest financial lobby against cannabis legalization. They know cannabis is safer and less toxic than booze and it is already being used as an alternative by millions of American citizens.

    Legalization seems like a slam dunk considering the relative safety records of cannabis, booze and tobacco. Cannabis with zero toxic fatalities and almost no statistical record of traffic accidents, versus alcohol and tobacco which kill over 500,000 US citizens annually plus another 16,000 in traffic deaths from booze intoxicated drivers. Makes you wonder if our politicians and lawmakers answer to “we the people” or the corporations and criminals listed above.

    Legalize, regulate and TAX!

    • scorekeeper

      DO NOT Legalize, regulate and TAX!
      Bad idea.