Anti-Cannabis Researcher Links Prohibition to Big Pharma Profits

By David Jenison on March 20, 2019

Dr. Wayne Hall likes cannabis about as much as Mike Pence likes watching Queer Eye. The director of the Centre for Youth Substance Abuse Research in Australia regularly plays all the prohibitionist hits (gateway drug theory, suicide, schizophrenia, etc.), and he famously said quitting cannabis can be more difficult than getting through heroin withdrawals.

Last month, the Aussie Anslinger co-wrote the introduction to a series of papers that analyzed the risks and benefits of cannabis use on physical and mental health. As one might expect, the risks dominated the discussion, with suspect claims like CBD gets you high and legalization increases "the number of problem users." The most interesting line in the intro, though, came at the very end: "While the legalization of nonmedical use will make it easier in principle to undertake research on medical uses of cannabinoids," Dr. Hall and his associates argued, "it will also reduce the incentives that the pharmaceutical industry has to fund clinical trials of medical uses." Thus, the continuation of prohibition would increase such financial incentives. 

Whether intentional or not, the argument they made is that profit potential is what drives private-sector research into health and wellness, and maintaining the prohibition on recreational cannabis provides the profit motive to encourage more medical research. Of course, that is the very reason why federal governments should fund an extensive set of clinical trials to provide clarity on the actual medical benefits and then determine optimal treatment protocols and formulations, though we're fairly confident Dr. Hall wasn't making that suggestion.  

Based on his research and interviews, Dr. Hall appears to be a staunch supporter of the prohibition on recreational cannabis use, but this study's reference to financial incentives echoes what legalization advocates have said for decades: An all-natural therapeutic that people can grow at home is a financial threat to Big Pharma companies who want the public to pay a premium for health and wellness.

In the meantime, Dr. Hall should tune into ABC Australia for this report: "Despite government claims that a streamlined medicinal cannabis system has led to an increase in prescriptions, at least 100,000 people are self-medicating through the black market, outweighing legal supply in Australia by over 30 to one." The elderly population makes up a large number of the black-market medical users that the current law would put in prison for self-medicating use. 

Pushing Back on the Aussie Study that Says Cannabis Doesn't Relieve Pain

The 1950s: The Lost Decade for Cannabis-Themed Music

P. Harmala, the Healing Hallucinogenic Threatening Big Pharma

FDA Declares Kratom an Opioid

Semper Fry: Marine Officer Endorses LSD Microdosing

What Humboldt County Can Learn from the Wine Industry

Laser Vapes Are Apparently Coming Soon

Cannabis Brand Wonderbrett to Host Party at Bella Thorne’s Mansion

FDA Approves Ketamine Spray to Treat Depression

Legal MMJ + Online Media Equals Trouble for Prohibition

Researchers Get Fish High AF for Science

This THC-Like Moss Will Get You High

The Drug War Produces a Negative Health Impact on Communities of Color

Ending Prohibition Would Be More Effective Than a Border Wall

Israel Joins the Medical MDMA Movement