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Elizabeth Warren on Drugs

 

 


Legalizing marijuana will reduce opioid deaths

Sen. Elizabeth Warren wants the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to explore the use of medical marijuana as an alternative to the powerful opioid painkillers that kill thousands of people each year. In a letter to CDC chief Tom Friedan, the Massachusetts Democrat also asks the agency to look into "the impact of the legalization of medical and recreational marijuana on opioid overdose deaths."
Source: Washington Post on 2016 Veepstakes: "Legalizing marijuana" , Feb 13, 2016

Opposes the outright legalization of marijuana

Sen. Scott Brown and his chief Democratic rival Elizabeth Warren are both declining to say whether they support or oppose a ballot question that would legalize the medical use of marijuana in Massachusetts. Brown said Tuesday he'd like to learn more about the proposal before taking a position on it. The Massachusetts Republican described the ballot question as "a state issue." Warren also declined to stake out a position.

Warren said Monday she looked forward to a public hearing on the ballot question. Warren said she opposes the outright legalization of marijuana.

The Legislature's Committee on Public Health held a hearing Tuesday on the question that would allow patients with debilitating medical conditions such as cancer, AIDS and multiple sclerosis to get permission from their doctors to use marijuana.

Source: Boston Globe, "Pot Question" , Apr 10, 2012

Rated B by NORML, indicating a pro-drug-reform stance.

Warren scores B by the NORML on drug reform

OnTheIssues.org interprets the 2016 NORML scores as follows:

About NORML (from their website, www.norml.org):

National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Law's mission is to move public opinion sufficiently to achieve the repeal of marijuana prohibition so that the responsible use of cannabis by adults is no longer subject to penalty.

NORML is a nonprofit, public-interest lobby that for more than 30 years has provided a voice for those Americans who oppose marijuana prohibition. We represent the interests of the tens of millions of Americans who smoke marijuana responsibly and believe the recreational and medicinal use of marijuana should no longer be a crime.

NORML supports the removal of all criminal penalties for the private possession & responsible use of marijuana by adults, including the cultivation for personal use, and the casual nonprofit transfers of small amounts. This model is called "decriminalization."

NORML additionally supports the development of a legally controlled market for marijuana, where consumers could purchase it from a safe, legal and regulated source. This model is referred to as "legalization."

NORML believes that marijuana smoking is not for kids and should only be used responsibly by adults. As with alcohol consumption, it must never be an excuse for misconduct or other bad behavior. Driving or operating heavy equipment while impaired from marijuana should be prohibited.

NORML strongly supports the right of patients to use marijuana as a medicine when their physician recommends it to relieve pain and suffering.

Lastly, NORML supports the right of farmers to commercially cultivate hemp for industrial purposes, such as food and fiber production.

Source: NORML website 16_NORML on Nov 8, 2016

Immunity for banks offering services to marijuana businesses.

Warren signed immunity for banks offering services to marijuana businesses

Congressional Summary:This bill provides a safe harbor for depository institutions providing financial services to a marijuana-related legitimate business insofar as it prohibits a federal banking regulator from:

  1. terminating or limiting the deposit or share insurance of a depository institution solely because it provides financial services to a marijuana-related legitimate business; or
  2. prohibiting, penalizing, or otherwise discouraging a depository institution from offering such services.
Immunity from federal criminal prosecution or investigation is granted, subject to certain conditions, to a depository institution that provides financial services to a marijuana-related legitimate business in a state or one of its political subdivisions that allows the cultivation, production, manufacture, sale, transportation, display, dispensing, distribution, or purchase of marijuana.

Argument in Favor: [Cato Institute, March 31, 2016]: Marijuana is now legal under the laws of [several] states, but not under federal law. And this creates huge headaches for marijuana businesses:

Source: Marijuana Businesses Access to Banking Act 16-S1726 on Apr 28, 2015

Criminalize imports of opioid precursors.

Warren signed criminalizing imports of opioid precursors

Excerpts from Letter from 17 Senators to the President of the European Commission We write to request designating NPP and ANPP, which are precursor chemicals of the synthetic opioid fentanyl, as Table I substances under the 1988 UN Convention against Illicit Traffic in Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances. NPP and ANPP are [legal under EU law but] already controlled in the U.S. under the Controlled Substances Act. However, without collective international action it will be difficult to control NPP and ANPP, and will frustrate efforts to curb manufacturing and trafficking of illicit fentanyl.

Opposing argument: (ACLU, "Against Drug Prohibition"): People in almost all cultures, in every era, have used psychoactive drugs. A "drug free America" is not a realistic goal, and by criminally banning psychoactive drugs the government has ceded control of potentially dangerous substances to criminals. Instead of trying to stamp out drug use, our government should focus on reducing drug abuse and prohibition-generated crime. This requires a fundamental change in public policy: repeal of criminal prohibition and the creation of a reasonable regulatory system.

Opposing argument: (Cato Institute, "Do Restrictions Reduce Opioid Poisonings?", by Jeffrey Miron): Prescription Drug Monitoring Programs (PDMPs), which record a patient's opioid prescribing history, when required as "must access," PDMPs significantly reduce misuse in Medicare Part D. But there is no statistically significant effect on opioid poisoning incidents. How is this possible? The simplest explanation is that, despite all the hype, prescription opioids are not that dangerous, even in heavy doses, when used under medical supervision. Instead, most poisonings reflect use of diverted prescription opioids, or black market opioids, which may be adulterated. Under this interpretation, restrictions on opioid prescribing might even increase opioid poisonings.

Source: Letter on Fentanyl 17LTR-NPP on Feb 17, 2017

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Page last updated: Jun 07, 2018