Here is the pulse racing truth revealed by filmmaker Morgan Spurlock in “Inside Man”: medical cannabis removes potentially billions of dollars in revenue from the pharmaceutical companies, and the pharmaceutical lobby is not about to let the green goods (money) slip through their gluttonous fingers. Spurlock, who crusaded against McDonalds in his film Super Size Me, makes a case for medical cannabis in his new CNN documentary “Inside Man” and criticizes federal attempts to prosecute growers and sellers. Without success, Spurlock tries to talk to Northern California Department of Justice attorney Melinda Haag. If given the opportunity, I would pose the following queries to those bastions of morality—the pharmaceutical drug lobby and the U.S. Department of Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA):
- Is it true you needed a new public enemy when The Noble Experiment failed flat on its inebriated face? Alcohol prohibition cost the federal government $11 billion in lost tax revenue, while costing over $300 million to enforce. Economist Jeffrey Miron says state and federal governments expend as much as $20 billion a year on cannabis prohibition. The federal government does an exceptional job of making the same mistake twice.
- Do Pfizer lobbyists and paper pushing DEA agents read statistics? The U.S. Center for Disease Control (CDC) reports that more than 37,000 deaths occur each year due to alcohol abuse. The CDC does not even have a category for cannabis related deaths because there has never been a single death caused by the consumption of cannabis.
- President Obama: you said in 2008 DEA raids on medical cannabis shops were a waste of government resources. Yet why then did the DEA bust more medical cannabis dispensaries during your first term as president than they did throughout all eight years of the Bush administration?
- Is there evidence to show legalizing cannabis leads to an increase in use? Dutch citizens over age eighteen are permitted to buy and use cannabis in government-regulated coffee shops. This policy has not resulted in dramatically escalating cannabis use. In fact, rates of cannabis use are lower in the Netherlands than in the U.S. for young adults.
- How can the federal government, in good conscience, turn away veterans, the elderly, and “able-bodied young persons” who use cannabis to treat serious pain, counteract the effects of life-threatening diseases and equalize mood disorders? In some parts of the world, that’s known as intolerable cruelty.
- Spurlock in “Inside Man” became a volunteer at one of the biggest collectives in California, Harborside Health Center. A docile, ageing Vietnam War veteran who frequents the professional facility told Spurlock that unlike Vicodin, with its attendant harmful side effects, cannabis has been a lifesaver in alleviating the pain from three bullet holes in his leg. After receiving his medication, the veteran turns to Spurlock and quietly underscores, “Don’t let those sons of bitches close you up.”