There’s an old “medical” joke — although I doubt if many doctors ever told it — “The operation was a success, but the patient died.” However, I would like to suggest a new version that the medical profession should try: “The medicine worked, but the patients suffered and/or died because the medical profession wouldn’t consider it.”
The good news is that, as scientists learn more about the COVID-19 and how to treat it, the mortality rate seems to be falling. The bad news is that many patients continue to suffer for weeks or months after they have tested negative and have supposedly ”recovered”.
The Forbes article also cites a study from the Journal of the American Medical Association that looked at 143 patients from Italy who had been hospitalized with COVID-19 and survived. The study found that four in five of them were still reporting symptoms; at that time, two months later.
Progressives have sometimes delayed legalization efforts to dole out lucrative licenses to select members of minorities as a form of “reparations.”
The cannabis communities (note the plural) were disappointed (again) last week when the Democratic-controlled House of Representatives delayed a vote on the Marijuana Opportunity, Reinvestment and Expungement (MORE) Act until after the elections. Although it is obviously frustrating, the short delay may actually ensure greater success in November.
As an excellent report on MarijuanaMoment.com pointed out, the bill actually has the support of a majority of the House Republicans, but some moderate House Democrats (an endangered species) were afraid of being mocked by prohibitionists in November.
Fifty years ago this month, the late, great economist Milton Friedman, published an essay, “The Social Responsibility of Business is to Increase Its Profits”.
The title really says it all, but it is important to understand that Friedman always emphasized that his political views (he was a Libertarian) were separate from his economics (Monetarism). He also insisted that he was not exempting business from ethical norms.
Although Friedman and John Maynard Keynes had very different views on economics, he would have agreed with Keynes famous quote:
“When the facts change, I change my mind – what do you do, sir?”
I like to think that Friedman would have a very different view today because America and the world have changed enormously in the last half-century. It is important to recognize that the immediate impetus to social change really had nothing to do with “business”, but was triggered by questionable police violence against African Americans. Not exactly a new problem.
In 2005, GW hired a vociferous medical marijuana opponent to help them distinguish their version of THC from medical cannabis. Here’s why that’s a problem.
Let me make clear that I do not have any problems with the “pharmaceuticalization” of cannabis. If the pharmaceutical companies can manipulate the molecules and/or combine cannabinoids with other substances and thereby help sick and dying people, or just make healthy people feel better and make a profit doing it, everyone wins.
However, when a company uses marijuana prohibition and the Drug War to lobby for state violence against sick and dying people to try to monopolize medical access to a plant that has been used medically for millennia, I have to object.
After GW Pharmaceuticals developed “Sativex”, its version of THC, it met with “skepticism” in the U.S. drug war establishment, basically the entire U.S. government, because if it was approved for use in the U.S., that would suggest that “marijuana” might actually have medical use. Heresy!!
While marijuana may be a factor in some accident deaths, there is no evidence that it is a significant factor when compared with other substances, such as alcohol … or dog bites.
We often overlook things we don’t want to see, so when we debate public policies, we can be misled by not knowing the context. Consequently, when we hear about the harms associated with something we may want to outlaw it.
For example, there is something that caused 6,323 hospital admissions in 2017 with a mean age of 6.63 years. Almost one third underwent a surgical procedure. Open wounds of the head, neck and trunk were the most common injury and decreased in prevalence with increasing age. Open wounds of the extremities were the second most common and the prevalence increased with increasing age. Children aged 1–4 and 5–10 years were both more than three times more likely to be admitted than those more than age 11. Think of the children!
Very simply, marijuana legalization is not some wild experiment that has never been done before. And now, of course, we are beginning to see the same experience in some places in the United States.
In the midst of the pandemic, there is much uncertainty about almost everything, but one thing does seem certain: America is going to be much poorer. Or, to put in a global perspective, America and a few other countries will be much less rich and the rest of the world will be much, much poorer, and no wall or welfare program will protect us.
In Los Angeles, the global center of the entertainment industry, the unemployment rate is already around 50%, and many jobs and businesses are gone forever. The sheer scale of the problems will almost certainly lead to social unrest which will be visible to the world. But so will the solutions, because the world really does look to “Hollywood” for imagination.
We must completely reform the criminal justice system from top to bottom, starting with the current U.S. Attorney General, Bill Barr.
While I understand the pain behind the calls to “Abolish the Police” etc., I think that they are simplistic and even counterproductive. Police misconduct is really just the visible part of the problem. We have overloaded the police with problems that would be better handled by trained social workers. We have given them impossible tasks, notably the Drug War, and especially marijuana prohibition, and we have hired people who clearly should not be trusted with the power of life and death.
Although no one will catch a “drug overdose” by sitting next to someone on a bus or at a bar, the widespread prevalence of drug abuse in a society does resemble an infectious disease epidemic in other ways.
The origins of the opioid epidemic is more complex, but a difference in policies produces a difference in results. First and foremost, the problem can be prevented by good public health policies and can be made much worse by bad social policies. Take for example the Netherlands, where the COVID-19 case rate soared in March, but had declined sharply by the end of June.
My old friend, Lester Grinspoon, died on June 24, his 92nd birthday, but I have waited over a week to write about it, because I wanted to see if either the New York Times or the Washington Post would print his obituary.