US Senator Elizabeth Warren Questions Secretary Health and Human Services Nominee about Cannabis


Elizabeth Warren is a popular political dignitary throughout the US. This US Senator from Massachusetts is one that petitions for better health care, abortion rights, and rights for the LGBT community. She also strongly supports recreational and medical marijuana.

In 2015, Warren brought the subject of medical cannabis to the attention of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Senator Warren advocated for the study of cannabis as a way to help fight the opioid crisis in the US. She particularly wanted to see cannabis studied as a replacement for opioid painkillers.

Can Cannabis Replace the Over-Prescription of Opioid Painkillers?

In this country, the over-prescription of opioids is out of control. In 2015, more than one in three Americans used a prescription opioid. In the same year, 19.1 million Americans reported an opioid addiction. Since 1999, the number of overdose deaths from opioids (including prescription pills and heroin) has quadrupled. It’s estimated that 91 Americans die each day from opioid overdose.

These are all things Senator Warren was well aware of when bringing up the subject of studying cannabis to replace prescription opioid painkillers. After all, no one’s ever overdosed on cannabis. And it’s shown to significantly reduce prescription opioid used.

Two years later, the opioid crisis continues to spin out of control. People are dying every single day from opioids that are handed out by doctors like candy. Senator Warren wants to see things change.

Senator Warren Sends Letter to Secretary of Health and Human Services Nominee Asking for Answers

She recently sent a 21-page letter to Alex Azar, Trump’s pick for the Secretary of Health and Human Services. Azar is no stranger to the Department of Health and Human Services. Under President George W. Bush, he was Deputy Secretary of HHS in 2005.

When Obama became President in 2008, Azar was out. For the last decade, he’s filled his time working for Eli Lilly and Company, a pharmaceutical company who is the leading producer of methadone and Prozac. He’s poised to soon resume leadership in Washington as Trump’s pick for Secretary of Department of Health and Human Services.

Senator Warren wants answers.

In her letter to Azar, she made it clear that “medical marijuana has the potential to mitigate the effects of the opioid crisis.” She supported this with applicable data from Colorado. She went on the pose 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 about the therapeutic benefits of marijuana when used for medical purposes?

With Attorney General Jeff Sessions recently calling for a crackdown on federal marijuana policy, it will be interesting to see just how Azar answers Senator Warren’s questions. In a country where cannabis is helping countless people, it’s beyond unfortunate it’s government refuses to acknowledge so.