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While our syrup-loving neighbors to the north are getting ready to throw a little pot party of their own this week, folks in the Keystone State are making headway on their own head trip.

Pennsylvania, a state that has been a political battleground from the time I was but a wee little thing, is finally jumping on board the medical marijuana machine with a new plan to specifically combat opioid addiction with doctor prescribed pot.

Pennsylvania added four new illnesses to its Medical Marijuana Program’slist of qualifying conditions on Monday, May 14, 2018. One is opioid-use disorder.

The inclusion of opioid addiction on its list of qualifying conditions, bringing it up to 21.

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“We have expanded the number of serious medical conditions to include neurodegenerative diseases, terminal illness, dyskinetic and spastic movement disorders and opioid-use disorder,” Pennsylvania’s Secretary of Health, Dr. Rachel Levine, wrote in an email.

Levine said that while medical cannabis won’t necessarily be the first or only substitute for other more established treatments in opioid recovery, marijuana may prove to be a viable option for some.

“We’re making medical marijuana available to patients if all other treatments fail, or if a physician recommends that it can used in conjunction with other traditional therapies,” Levine said.

Patrick Nightingale, an attorney and director of the Pittsburgh chapter of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML), noted that Dr. Levine’s quick action will save lives. 

“Dr. Levine chose not to subject the additional four medical conditions to a 90-day comment period,” he said.

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This is incredible news for sufferers of opioid addiction, who often find themselves in their current predicament after a perfectly vetted prescription for pain pills turns into a thirst for the milk of the poppy.

You see, black tar heroin, the kind that Mexican drug cartels butcher little girls over, does the exact same thing to your brain as narcotic opioids such as vicodin or oxycontin.  So, when the doctor will no longer prescribe these expensive medications to addicted patients, these patients are forced to go underground and find the cheaper, more dangerous version of their high.

This in turn emboldens the Mexican drugs gangs that are already exploiting the U.S. border situation as a means to launder money back and forth between nations, not to mention their own vested interest in supplying our own black market with drugs, guns, and human cargo.

To defeat opioid addiction, our nation must embrace a far more realistic view of marijuana.  It doesn’t hurt that wide scale legalized pot would also take a dent out of the Mexican drug cartels in the process.


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