Berniecare: Bernie Sanders Wants to Help Donald Trump

Donald Trump just cracked the textbook for the first time this semester. And oh, is he confused.

On Monday, the president of the United States, remembering he promised he’d get around to addressing gargantuan task of fixing America’s desiccated healthcare system, asked for an extension. Healthcare, you see, is “unbelievably complex,” Trump said. “Nobody knew healthcare could be so complicated.”

Let’s forget for a second that someone at the helm of a diversified international corporation is intimidated by actuarial tables and flummoxed by interstate trade. (Let’s also not forget that Donald Trump appears still closely involved with the Trump Organization, which is hosting foreign dignitaries at its new Washington hotel in a flagrant, possibly impeachable violation of the emoluments clause). At least one facet of healthcare in America and its stupendous cost is incredibly simple, and can be explained in terms Trump uses on the daily: Americans are getting screwed by a terrible deal.

As it happens, the biggest foreign threat to the order of things in the United States is not methamphetamine from Mexico or heroin from Afghanistan. It’s cheap prescription pharmaceutical drugs from Canada.

Americans spend $300 billion a year on prescription drugs, far more than any other country. Drugs are much more expensive here because Americans can’t easily (or legally) buy drugs on a global marketplace. As a result, evil American pharmaceutical executives are able to profiteer by jacking up the price at will, enabling them to buy one-of-a-kind Wu-Tang records or whatever, while sick people choose between food or medicine.

That’s not sad, it’s criminal.

To Trump’s rescue on Tuesday came Sen. Bernie Sanders and other Democratic leaders in Congress with a relatively simple plan to end this losing deal. Under a bill introduced on Tuesday, American consumers would be able to buy prescription drugs from Canadian pharmacies, the Hill reported.

In fact, “[t]he president’s support for these ideas have been so clear that I’m tempted to introduce a bill in the House named ‘The Donald Trump Drug Affordability Act,’” said sly jokester Rep. Elijah Cummings, who is sponsoring accompanying legislation in the House. “I’m sure he would like that.”

If he is serious about fixing the healthcare problem, Trump should gobble up this plan like he does Propecia, because it would allow him to meet a campaign promise and allow Americans to start winning again. Big league.

One of the chief Republican complaints about the Affordable Care Act is the staggering out-of-pocket costs for various procedures and prescriptions. A solution offered for this is often interstate competition—allowing insurance carriers to shop plans across state lines.

If the same theory were applied to drug purchasing agreements, opening up the domestic marketplace dominated by domestic companies to foreign competition, the savings would be stupendous.

Drugs are “substantially cheaper” in countries including Canada, India and the United Kingdom, thanks largely to “the most costly form of [trade] protectionism plaguing our country today,” as the normally conservative Economic Policy Institute put it, and the cost is obvious.

Current American trade policies keep drug prices high, a bargain that transparently benefits the rich at the cost of the poor. Americans spend $300 billion on prescription drugs every year, a deal that only benefits “shareholders and corporate managers of pharmaceutical companies, some of the most profitable corporations in the world,” the EPI wrote.

Of course, Sanders’ plan will run into strong opposition from the pharmaceutical industry, which is already claiming that Canadian pharmaceutical drugs are a “tainted” supply rife with “counterfeit” drugs imported from (gasp) other countries, the Hill reported.

And no Republicans have yet to sign onto the bill. But as angry voters swamping Republican lawmakers’ town halls are demonstrating, the bill for bad healthcare decisions is coming due, and it may be paid in the 2018 midterms.

You can keep up with all of HIGH TIMES’ news right here.

How Cannabis Could Change Farming Practices Around the World

Jeremy Plumb has been called the Bill Nye of pot science. His enthusiasm bubbles over when he talks about the plant’s medical and therapeutic properties. The Willamette Weekly even called him Portland’s mad scientist of cannabis.

But don’t let the nicknames throw you off. Plumb is one of the most respected cannabis researchers in the world.

As the executive director of the Open Cannabis Project, which is researching the cannabis genome, Plumb is one of the first people lawmakers, and others who need to know, turn to when they have questions about weed.

Plumb is on a mission to use science, medicine and marketing to redefine marijuana

“This is the first moment where we have all of the resources of science and modern insight to meet this amazing task, which is not just about understanding phytochemistry, but the reflecting of our own physiology,” Plumb told the Vanguard.

His state-of-the-art cannabis farm, Newcleus Nurseries, is practicing sophisticated ag-tech and regenerative farming practices.

Plumb told the Willamette Weekly in an interview:

“I’d like to demonstrate cannabis as a wedge to demonstrate ecological horticulture, illustrate cannabinopathic medicine, and demonstrate the positive force cannabis has played economically already—$16 billion in tax revenue in the state. We’re sitting at the precipice of technologies that will transform the world—the use of the technologies of cannabis for ag-tech. No other space is receiving the kind of investment the cannabis industry is bringing.”

In the same way NASA research yielded all manner of useful technology, so might cannabis science and farming.

“We’re at this tiny fringe, but as we grow according to the scale of the economy surrounding cannabis, we take agriculture on this journey out of green revolution, away from harvest monocultures and pesticides,” Plumb said.

In addition to agriculture, cannabis therapeutics and exploring technology to improve the quality of life is on Plumb’s mind.

He is convinced that cannabis as medicine will one day become mainstream, despite the false claims and government setbacks.

“All mammals have an endocannabinoid system, he explained. This plant lets us modulate this system in novel ways. We know enough to do this in dangerous ways, but cannabis is one of the most benign plants on the planet.”

Plumb says chemotype is the most important indicator for consumers—it’s about how much and which kinds of compounds exist in each flower. He says THC and CBD are just the tip of the iceberg and that strains are often mislabeled for marketing purposes.

Plumb told Portland Monthly that even the more evolved descriptors that typically measure THC and CBD can mask the real complexity of pot’s potential.

“As long as cannabis is poorly measured, it will never be taken seriously in the health care community, and patients will never be able to rely on consistent outcomes,” Plumb noted. “The compounds cause the therapeutic benefit.”

If Plumb has his way, says Mowgli Holmes, a colleague on the genome project, cannabis culture will shift from Doritos-binge jokes to a respected alternative for an overmedicated society.

For now, says Holmes, Plumb is an outlier in an industry focused on profits and getting people stoned. But that will change.

“The way Jeremy is going will carry the day,” he said. “The high-end market will follow his lead.”

You can keep up with all of HIGH TIMES’ marijuana news right here.

America’s Top 10 Most Drugged-Out States

My fellow Americans, we are a sad bunch. We are fat, we are unhealthy, we are poor and we are in pain—and all this was true before the subprime meltdown and subsequent Great Recession.

Over the last decade, seven million people have lost their jobs and their homes, 24/7 Wall Street recently reminded us, but it’s much worse than that. With each layoff and foreclosure, the lives of countless more dependents are thrown into disorder and disarray. This mass evaporation of wealth means a vast lack of self-worth. Hard to compete in a consumerist society when you can no longer consume.

Out of this new emptiness sprang Donald Trump’s belligerent brand of populism, but before we turned to mean Tweets and Pepe memes, Americans turned to booze and pills to mask their physical and mental pain, or just for a dopamine kick when nothing else was working.

Use of mind-altering drugs hit a 10-year high in 2014. Almost 19 percent of Americans drink alcohol or use some kind of “mood-altering substance” every day, according to recent Census statistics.

But the places that exceed the national average all have something in common: They’re poorer, they’re fatter and they’re unhappier—and with one exception, they’re all places that support Donald Trump.

Here are the 10 states with the highest rates of near-daily use of mood-altering drugs, as per 24/7 Wall Street. Make no mistake, these aren’t party destinations—these are bleak houses indeed.

10. Oklahoma, 21.8 percent near-daily drug use

Obamacare didn’t help Oklahomans that much. Fewer than 85 percent of the state’s residents have health insurance. The lack of preventative care might explain why more than one-third of the state is suffering from obesity and another 11.6 percent has diabetes.

9. Indiana, 21.9 percent near-daily drug use

The average American has an eye-popping 12.7 prescription medications in his or her medicine cabinet. If you have fewer than five, consider yourself lucky—and marvel at how many other people have 20 or more to round out that statistic. Indiana residents have about the average, but about 23.4 percent smoke. Smoking means poor health, and poor health means popping pills.

8. Ohio, 22 percent near-daily drug use

The prescription pill epidemic has hit Ohio like a sledgehammer. More than 3,310 people died from drug overdoses here in 2015, one of the worst rates in the nation. And Ohioans are awash in prescriptions, with almost 18 pill bottles per person.

7. Louisiana, 22.2 percent near-daily drug use

It’s hard to find work on the Gulf Coast. Louisiana has the third-highest unemployment rate in the country, and one of the lowest household income rates. Twenty percent of the state’s residents live in poverty, and the state also has the country’s highest obesity rate. You can’t blame it all on New Orleans’ 24-hour party life.

6. South Carolina, 22.5 percent near-daily drug use

People in South Carolina love their cigarettes and love their food. Almost 23 percent smoke, and 31.7 percent are obese.

5. Alabama, 23.1 percent near-daily drug use

Alabama’s economy dropped like a rock during the Great Recession, with the jobless rate increasing from four percent to six percent.

4. Rhode Island, 23.5 percent near-daily drug use

The lone blue state on the list, Rhode Island residents enjoy relatively high income, but the jobless rate is 5.3 percent, higher than many red states on this list. Rhode Island residents may not turn to pills, but they like to drink and smoke weed, with 63 percent and 19 percent reporting regular alcohol and cannabis use, respectively.

3. Kentucky, 24 percent near-daily drug use

This is tobacco country, and Kentuckians act like it. More than 36 percent of residents say they smoke cigarettes. With the entire state a smoking section, health outcomes are abysmal, and so Kentucky has an eye-popping average of 22 prescriptions per person.

2. Arkansas, 24.9 percent near-daily drug use

Cancer, heart disease, obesity—Arkansas is just not a healthy place. The state has one of the highest premature mortality rates of anywhere in the country.

1. West Virginia, 28.2 percent near-daily drug use

West Virginia runs away with the top spot, and it’s not entirely its own fault. Drug companies absolutely flooded the state with opiates, and with an unemployment rate of six percent, there was a ready market of out-of-work people, some of whom were out-of-work manual laborers.

You may notice all these states have something else in common aside from poor health, low income and high incidence of drug use. They’re also places—with just three exceptions—where marijuana use is outlawed.

Rhode Island, Ohio and Louisiana have limited medical marijuana programs, but other than that, they’re all prohibition states. And Alabama and Oklahoma are where two of the architects of Donald Trump’s current tough-on-drugs policy originate.

Correlation is not causation, and we’re not saying legalization would solve a health crisis overnight. But with more evidence that marijuana availability reduces reliance on prescription painkillers, and some of the biggest fans of strict drug laws hailing from the country’s sickest states, we can’t help but wonder.

You can keep up with all of HIGH TIMES’ news right here.

Toasted Tweets | March 1, 2017

Who’s Oscar? A weed dealer? I didn’t watch the Academy Awards Sunday night. I do, sometimes, but other times I like to hang out with my family, make crafts, eat some good munchies and go to bed early. I knew that social media, especially Twitter, wouldn’t let me down with all the nitty gritty and details, and wow! What a year! It was like I was there. And is it just  me or was it as stony as the Cannabis Cup? Free munchies, major stoned-level flub ups? The candy raining down on the audience, the big mix-up with Best Picture… Like Fantasia, I bet it was super fun to watch stoned. Here are some thoughts from the Twitterverse.

Last week in Toasted Tweets: Reflections on President’s Day

CONFIRMED: Psychopathic Records has Permit to March on Washington, DC

Since the word got out that Jiffy Lube Live was no longer hosting the concert after the Juggalo March, some have questions as to whether Psychopathic Records has a permit to march at the National Mall at Washington, DC.

After doing several searches, I was unable to find any information listed for the Juggalo March, or any for that matter other than the Women’s march which has been headline news.

So, I decided to call National Park Services.  You can find their number at the bottom of this link:

Here’s the info that they gave to me…

Psychopathic Records has a permit for the National Mall on September 16th from 7 AM – 7 PM.  The permit number is 17-0173.

Feel free to call them yourself.  She did verify that the permit numbers were not officially posted on their website. So the only way (that I know of) to find out is to call them.

We’ll have more information on a replacement venue for the concert, or any other details that come up about the March as soon as we know them.

from Faygoluvers