Inside big pharma's fight to block recreational marijuana
Pharma and alcohol companies have been quietly bankrolling the opposition to legal marijuana, raising questions about threats to market share

Alfonso Serrano

Saturday 22 October 2016


From the article:

Marijuana legalization will unleash misery on Arizona, according to a wave of television ads that started rolling out across the state last month. Replete with ominous music, the advertisements feature lawmakers and teachers who paint a bleak future for Arizona’s children if voters approve Proposition 205, a measure that would allow people aged 21 and over to possess an ounce of pot and grow up to six plants for recreational use.

“Colorado schools were promised millions in new revenues” when the state approved recreational pot use, says the voiceover in one ad. Instead, schoolchildren were plagued by “marijuana edibles that look like candy”.

As Election Day approaches, the ads will continue, but the surprise lies in who is backing them. In August, the pharmaceutical company Insys Therapeutics also cited concerns for child safety when, with a $500,000 contribution, it became the largest donor to Arizona’s anti-legalization drive. But their stated concerns have raised a few eyebrows across the state. Insys manufactures Subsys, a prescription painkiller derived from fentanyl, the synthetic opioid that is up to 100 times more powerful than morphine.

And although child safety is a legitimate concern as states legalize cannabis – in Colorado, child emergency room visits for marijuana intoxication have increased to 2.3 per 100,000 kids aged 10 and under since legalization in 2014, up from from 1.2 per 100,000 kids before that – accidental ingestion of pharmaceuticals sends about 318 per 100,000 kids aged five years and under to the emergency room, according to government figures. The frequency of hospital visits from kids accidentally taking narcotic painkillers have increased 225% between 2004 and 2011, the US Department of Health and Human Services said.

Instead, critics say, the Insys contribution in Arizona is a ploy to protect market share. And it mirrors other large donations to anti-marijuana campaigns by pharmaceutical and alcohol companies that fear the growing clout of legal marijuana. In November, five states – Arizona, Massachusetts, Maine, Nevada and California – could join four others that have already legalized recreational cannabis. Currently, 25 states permit the plant’s medicinal use. They represent a national marijuana market that will top $6.7bn in sales this year, according to the research firm ArcView Group, and $20bn annually by 2020.

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300 Years of Fossil Fuels in 300 Seconds

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Hundredth | “Remain & Sustain”

7 causes of habitual sin

One of the toughest things for us to deal with in our walk, are those habitual sins we just can’t seem to shake. Here are 7 important factors we need to control to keep that cycle from happening again and again. [These are notes from a recent sermon that I was asked to share online]

1. Emotional overload. When your emotions get to a certain level, you will kick back and say, “well that’s it, I need to do a little something for me now.” You might even find that you sabotage yourself, by constantly running your emotions right near the red line. Solution: seek and receive peace from God, and make note of when that peace leaves you.

2. Physical exhaustion. When you’re tired, you’re vulnerable, your guard is down, and you can find that resistance that was good enough to do the job earlier today, is now nowhere near good enough. Solution: get your rest.

3. Guilt games. The enemy will get you wallowing in the guilt of what you’ve done in the past, and nothing will drain your drive to move forward faster than the idea that it’s already too late. Solution: to recognize that God make it clear—as long as you’re on the green side of the grass, it’s never too late, and EVERYTHING is forgivable. And when God forgives, He forgives COMPLETELY.

4. Shame over the past. It’s just as difficult to move forward when you think you’re doomed because of your past. You’re marked, and damaged, and you should be ashamed!  Solution: recognize—when God says He takes your sins away, as far as the east is from the west, and washes you white as snow, He means it.

5. Self pity. If you have any addiction, any kind of deeply rooted insecurity, then self pity should be treated like poison. You can’t ignore your negative emotions, that would just lead to an overload (see #1), but you need to avoid feeling sorry for yourself. Solution: Realize that you are not pitiful, so you have no use for pity. Sympathy, yes. Understanding, by all means. But pity, no.

6. Fear of the future. Most people don’t take the first step in a journey, until they know what the last step would look like. Making changes is scary. Will you be able to cope without your favorite habit? Will the future be a nice and comfortable place to live in? Solution: Remember, the Bible says, “we are not like those who shrink back and are destroyed, we are those who have faith and are saved” (Hebrews 10:39).

7. Wounded pride. If you see yourself as “almost there” in your spiritual journey, if you find yourself saying, “if I can just fix this one thing, I’ll be pretty much there”, then you’re likely to be shocked and massively disappointed to find yourself capable of committing one of those big, fat, hairy sins you thought were beneath you. Solution: pride itself is a sin, confess and repent of it, and grab a great big ol’ bucket of humility. The kind of humility that agrees with scripture: I’m a sinner, I was born that way, and I’ll die that way, but if I’m honest about how much it’s in my nature to sin, then I can develop a much better plan to attack it.

We want to start a movement. Only 19% of sexually active single women aged 22-44 use condoms regularly. We want 100%. We’ll never get to 100% but it blew my mind that my peers, 20-something, extremely successful, educated single women were not using condoms. Women think, I’m here to please the guy and if he’s not bringing up using a condom, we won’t. That’s what we want to change.
—  Meika Hollender, from “Sustainability — And Marketing To Women — Comes to Condomsvia Forbes
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UPDATED June 4: Enjoyed “Journey of the Universe” at #WED2011 at UN. Relevant to #wsf11 this film is an experiment in conveying scientific information, including vast unknowns, with the same sense of wonder that surrounded earlier creation stories. The film and forthcoming companion book were inspired by the ideas of the “geologian” Thomas Berry and created over the past decade by the mathematician and writer Brian Swimme and the historian of religion Mary-Evelyn Tucker.

While science itself is rooted in rigor and dispassion, its findings can inspire wonder, even reverence. I think the film is a great experiment. It is also beautifully filmed, and, refreshingly, largely a “woe-is-me/shame-on-you”-free zone.

I hope it gets wide viewing. There is a heap of valuable background online from a March conference at Yale.