Cannabis is legal for medical use in half of the country now. As a result more patients are making the switch from dangerous prescription pills to cannabis. This is saving thousands of lives around the country. We should do the same here in Idaho.
There are a couple reasons for this. First of all, cannabis has been proven to be very effective when it comes to treating health conditions like neurological seizure disorders and chronic pain. Secondly, prescription opiates are extremely addictive, a fact that makes them very dangerous. The prescription drug lobby has a large amount of control on state politics in Idaho.
Addiction to prescription opioids is a serious problem in the United States, and it is a serious problem here in Idaho. Overdoses from prescription pills increased 2.2 percent from 2013 to 2014 according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Between 2006 and 2014 a total of 1,544 Idahoans died from an overdose due to prescription pain pills. The Idaho Press-Tribune estimated back in 2013 that an Idahoan dies every 45 hours from a prescription painkiller overdose.
A joint study conducted earlier this year by the Associated Press and the Center For Public Integrity found that lobbyists for pharmaceutical companies have a great deal of influence in Idaho's state politics. The study found that the Pain Control Forum, a lobbyist group for the prescription drug industry donates a large portion to Idaho Lawmakers. Over the last decade, this lobbyist group has donated over $207,000 to political campaigns in Idaho, with $44,000 going to Governor Butch Otter, and $121,000 going to Senator Mike Crapo. Idaho Senator Pro Tem Brent Hill said in a brief interview with the Idaho Statesman, that he didn't think that these contributions affected his policy positions. Senator Hill himself has received a little over $4,000 from Pain Control Forum.
With the pharmaceutical industry having such a strong grip around the throat of our state legislators, it's not difficult to understand why cannabis legalization has been such an uphill battle here in our beautiful state.
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