In a letter addressed to the nominee for the Department of Human and Health Services, Elizabeth Warren demands answers about marijuana. The nominee in question is Alex Azar. Chosen by Donald Trump, Azar formerly served as the president of a major pharmaceutical company in the United States. Here’s what Senator Warren wants him to answer.
Senator Warren And Weed
The world of politics is pretty hazy right now.
In case you need a refresher, Elizabeth Warren is a United States senator hailing from the great state of Massachusetts. Elected in 2012 as a member of the Democratic Party, she’s a popular figure among party members, both in her state and throughout the country. As a politician, she champions causes like LGBT rights, abortion rights and better healthcare.
And speaking of health, she supports both medical and recreational cannabis.
Two years ago, Senator Warren urged the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to study the use of cannabis as a means to combat the nation’s opioid epidemic. Specifically, to study the application of cannabis as a replacement for the overprescribed painkillers that are easily abused.
That was two years ago, and the opioid epidemic is still in crisis mode. The situation is dire, and she isn’t backing down.
In a 21-page letter to Trump’s nominee for the position of Secretary of Health and Human Services, Elizabeth Warren demands answers about marijuana.
“Medical marijuana has the potential to mitigate the effects of the opioid crisis,” she wrote. Warren cites relevant data from Colorado to support her assertion. She then asks the following questions:
- As HHS Secretary, what would you do to further study this potential alternative to opioids?
- Are you committed to implementing evidence-based policies regarding its use?
- What steps will you take to improve our knowledge of the potential therapeutic benefits of marijuana when used for medical purposes?
Senator Warren is a member of the Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP).
Today, Alex Azar testified before HELP in a preliminary hearing before his confirmation hearing.
From 2001 to 2007, Azar worked under former President George W. Bush in the Department of Health and Human Services. First General Counsel in 2001, he shot up the ladder to Deputy Secretary in 2005. His last year in the position was in 2007.
Between then and now, Azar enjoyed high-ranking positions in Eli Lilly and Company—a major, global pharmaceutical company. From 2007 to 2009, he was the company’s premiere lobbyist. And then, from 2012 to January 2017, he was the President of Lilly USA, LLC. This position put him in charge of the largest branch of the company. Under his leadership, drug prices skyrocketed.
Eli Lilly has the distinction of being the first pharmaceutical company to mass-produce life-saving drugs, like the polio vaccine, penicillin and insulin. They are also the leading manufacturers of Methadone and Prozac.
Final Hit: Elizabeth Warren Demands Answers About Marijuana
In an age where everything in Washington seems to be clouded with uncertainty, it’s nice to know that there are at least a few politicians who are fighting the good fight. Even though HELP doesn’t have an authoritative role in the confirmation of Alex Azar, Senator Warren is doing her part to bring pressing matters to the forefront. We can only hope that the right people take her concerns and questions into consideration when it’s time for the full Senate to vote on this nominee.