Fake weed, real greed

Ngaio Bealum is a Sacramento comedian, activist and marijuana expert. Email him questions at ask420@newsreview.com.

I hear that five different states have adult use cannabis legalization laws on the ballot this year. How do you think they will do?

—Indra State

Things are on the upswing. Recent polls show California voters lean toward voting yes on Proposition 64, with 60 percent of voters in favor. Massachusetts is faring less successfully, with 50 percent opposed and 41 percent in favor. Maine voters are in favor 55 percent to 45 percent. Nevada polls have weed in front 50 to 41, while Arizona polls have pot legalization trailing with 49 percent against and 43 percent in favor. The election is still a few weeks away, so we will see what happens when the campaigning gets serious. Even if the measures in Arizona and Massachusetts fail to pass, three out of five would be a solid victory for cannabis law reform advocates.

Let’s talk about Arizona. According to recent reports, pharmaceutical company Insys Therapeutics donated $500,000 to the anti-legalization campaign. Insys makes a fentanyl patch—fentanyl is an opiate stronger than heroin, and it’s the drug that killed Prince—and they also produce pills containing marinol (synthetic THC).

Insys should be ashamed. Sure, as a business decision, it makes sense. If marijuana is legal, why would anyone need fake weed? States with legal marijuana have seen a decrease in opiate use and fewer fatal overdoses, according to an August 2014 study published in JAMA Internal Medicine.

But what value do human lives have when compared to obscene profits? That a giant company would contribute to keeping laws in place that deprive otherwise law-abiding citizens of their freedoms in order to protect their profit margins is foul and unconscionable.

Every person that works for Insys ought to be ashamed. Marijuana hasn’t killed anyone in over 5,000 years. Meanwhile, this country is facing an epidemic of opiate abuse, and instead of working to fix the problem they helped to create, they double down on furthering oppression and misery. For. Shame.

Anyway. Everyone, go vote. Let Big Pharma know that freedom is more important than profits.

Any cool events coming up? I have some vacation time coming and I want to do some canna-tourism.

—Roald Dawg

The Portland Hempstalk is happening September 24-25 in Portland, Ore. Portland is a great town for pot smokers, what with all the cool dispensaries and great food, plus fantastic public transportation so you don’t have to drive around all high and shit.

If you are looking for a more worldly buzz, check out the International Cannabis Business Conference in Vancouver, British Columbia, on October 13-14. Cannabis activists from all over the world will be there, and Vancouver, a.k.a., “Vansterdam,” has been producing high-quality cannabis since the ’90s. Safe travels!