A Watershed Year for Weed

Did you hear about the other big anti-establishment win?

On Tuesday, marijuana was legalized for recreational use in four new states!

California, Massachusetts, Maine and Nevada all ended prohibition on marijuana.

Additionally, Florida, North Dakota and Arkansas legalized pot for medical use.

In 28 states, medical marijuana is now legal. In another eight (plus D.C.), recreational use is legal or soon will be.

I’m sticking with the prediction I made last October…

“I believe the trend we’re on leads to total legalization in the next five to 10 years.”

President Obama reacted to Tuesday’s results in a recent interview with Bill Maher on HBO, saying this change could make the federal government’s prohibition on marijuana “untenable.”

That’s an understatement.

Pharma, Desperate, Strikes Back

According to the CDC, opioid abuse in the U.S. has officially become an epidemic: 28,000 people overdosed on opiates in 2014, and more than half of those involved prescription painkillers.

This is all very profitable for certain pharmaceutical companies.

And as we know, marijuana is an extremely effective painkiller. One without overdose or addiction risk.

It’s the ultimate threat to their bottom lines.

How worried are opioid makers?

Let’s take a look at the case of Insys Therapeutics. It’s known for making a fast-acting version of the ultra-powerful painkiller fentanyl. (This stuff is approximately 10 times more powerful than morphine.)

Turns out Insys has also been developing a patentable version of THC (the primary painkilling molecule in marijuana).

And Insys is fighting hard against marijuana legalization, as exposed by Lee Fang of The Intercept:

On August 31, Insys Therapeutics Inc. donated $500,000 to Arizonans for Responsible Drug Policy, becoming the single largest donor to the group leading the charge to defeat a ballot measure in Arizona to legalize marijuana.

The drug company, which currently markets a fast-acting version of the deadly painkiller fentanyl, assured local news reporters that it had the public interest in mind when making the hefty donation. A spokesperson told the Arizona Republic that Insys opposes the legalization measure, Prop. 205, “because it fails to protect the safety of Arizona’s citizens, and particularly its children.”

The company assured The Intercept that it was only looking out for children with the move.

BUT… financial filings reveal the true story. Here’s the relevant section, as exposed by Mr. Fang:

Legalization of marijuana or non-synthetic cannabinoids in the United States could significantly limit the commercial success of any dronabinol product candidate… If marijuana or non-synthetic cannabinoids were legalized in the United States, the market for dronabinol product sales would likely be significantly reduced and our ability to generate revenue and our business prospects would be materially adversely affected.

Another understatement. Who would buy overpriced, lab-cooked, synthetic “marijuana molecules” when you can get the real thing for much less?

Insys won one battle, as Arizona rejected a proposal to legalize marijuana on Tuesday. But it will lose the war.

The facts are not on the prohibitionists’ side.

We’re seeing increasing evidence that in states with legal marijuana, there is less opiate use and abuse and fewer overdoses.

This recent chart from The Washington Post tells the tale. It shows the drop in the number of annual prescriptions (per physician) written in states that have legalized cannabis.

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Marijuana will do more to cure the opiate epidemic than anything else. The fact that it moved forward in eight states is a huge win for the country.

If the federal government is forced to fold its hand here and legalize on a national level, medicine will change forever.

Look at that chart. Marijuana will eat into the profits of countless drug categories. Sleep, pain, depression, appetite, epilepsy, anxiety, nausea, etc. The list goes on, and it terrifies big pharma.

This is cause for celebration. But I’m not done yet…

Bigger Picture

This is about more than our right to ingest plants of our own choosing.

Politicians have officially been put on notice.

More so by the American people than by President-elect Trump, in my view. He simply tapped into righteous anger that had been boiling up for years.

I congratulate him for running a very smart campaign and hope he succeeds beyond his loyal supporters’ wildest expectations. I look forward to watching his campaign manager, Kellyanne Conway, move into one of the most powerful positions in the world. She is one to watch, a brilliant strategist.

But this is about much more than just Mr. Trump.

Americans are done with corruption, lies, endless wars, skyrocketing debt and a crooked justice system. That’s why Mr. Trump won. The DNC rigged its primary against Bernie Sanders and reaped what it sowed.

The RNC has much to reflect on as well. What happened this year? Was Jeb supposed to be the guy, but it realized Bush vs. Clinton would not play well in 2016?

We as citizens also need to do some soul-searching. Because it took us far too long to get this mad. We wasted too many decades letting special interest groups reach into our wallets and personal lives.

And please understand that I’m not saying Trump is our savior. He’s a symptom of a broken system and I’m just a libertarian observing the first real chance to end systemic corruption in my lifetime.

What I see here is a window to make real, meaningful change. It’s already started, as we saw on Tuesday with both the rejection of the establishment candidate and the rollback of the federal war on medical marijuana.

So let’s see what we can do. If we keep the pressure on them, the sky’s the limit. Now’s the time. Tell your friends, alert your elected officials.

I’m more optimistic than I’ve been in a decade. Not because I think Donald Trump will solve all our problems, but because Americans are awakening to the systemic corruption all around us.

Let’s make the most of this moment. It could be the best thing that has happened to the United States in a long time.

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Read my other articles about marijuana investing, legalization and more:

Sincerely,

Adam Sharp
Founder, Early Investing

P.S. What are your ideas for political reform? Let us know in the comments here.