Studies show that more access to medical marijuana reduces the use of opioids, yet the Trudeau government is planning to make medical marijuana more expensive.
As I recently reported, there was widespread outrage when the Trudeau government announced that their $1 per gram marijuana excise tax would also apply to medical marijuana – despite the fact that medical marijuana is already taxed.
The plan was met with vehement opposition from medical marijuana advocacy groups – who called it a “tax on sick Canadians” – as well as the Conservatives and NDP.
Beyond just being another tax grab, the policy will make it tougher for some people to afford medical marijuana, which will make the opioid crisis even worse.
B.C. based researcher Phillipe Lucas put together a study showing, “There’s a growing body of evidence that cannabis can be a safer substitute and play a harm-reduction role by reducing the use of prescription opioids, reducing the use of alcohol, and even reducing the use of tobacco and illicit substances”
Additionally, Lucas pointed out that “Unlike opioids, cannabis has “no chance of (fatal) overdose, far less of a chance of developing dependence, and you don’t have a lot of the similar side effects you do with opioids.”
A recent Reuters report also found that increased medical marijuana reduced opioid usage:
“In states that legalized medical marijuana, U.S. hospitals failed to see a predicted influx of pot smokers, but in an unexpected twist, they treated far fewer opioid users, a new study shows. Hospitalization rates for opioid painkiller dependence and abuse dropped on average 23 percent in states after marijuana was permitted for medicinal purposes, the analysis found. Hospitalization rates for opioid overdoses dropped 13 percent on average.”
The University of Michigan Medical School found that medical marijuana usage led to a huge decline in the use of opioids:
“Patients using medical marijuana to control chronic pain reported a 64 percent reduction in their use of more traditional prescription pain medications known as opioids, a University of Michigan study finds. The 185 patients from a medical marijuana dispensary in Ann Arbor also reported fewer side effects from their medications and a 45-percent improvement in quality of life since using cannabis to manage pain.”
Clearly, more access to medical marijuana means less use of opioids, and there are many more studies that show this to be true.
This means that increasing taxes on medical marijuana – and thus making it more expensive – is an incredibly dumb policy, and will only make the devastating opioid crisis even worse.
It’s a huge policy failure by the Trudeau government, and it shows that their desperation for tax dollars has no limits. If they have even a bit of common sense, they must reverse this horrible policy immediately.