Health Secretary Alex Azar was President George W. Bush’s health secretary first and then went on to become president of Eli Lilly and Company, the massive pharmaceutical company. Now he has been reappointed to health secretary by the Trump administration. During a press conference at an Ohio inpatient facility treating infants that have been exposed to opioids, Alex Azar outright denied the existence of medical marijuana when asked about how medical marijuana could help in the battle against the opioid epidemic. “There really is no such thing as medical marijuana,” he said.
“We are devoting hundreds and hundreds of millions of dollars of research at our National Institutes of Health as part of the historic $13 billion opioid and serious mental illness program that the president and Congress are funding,” Azar said.
Azar went on to describe how “over $750 million just in 2019 alone is going to be dedicated towards the National Institutes of Health working in public-private partnership to try and develop the next generation of pain therapies that are not opioids.”
Yet when asked what role he sees medical marijuana playing as a next-generation alternative to opioids, Azar had this to say.
“There is no FDA-approved use of marijuana, a botanical plant. I just want to be very clear about that.”
Even the World Health Organization has acknowledged that CBD, one of the cannabinoids found in marijuana, has health benefits and is not addictive. Denying that there is anything such as medical marijuana may be necessary for the health secretary of a country that claims marijuana is on the same plane as heroin. Or, Alex Azar is adopting the perspective of the pharmaceutical industry that is losing massive amounts of money to the state legal marijuana market. How do you feel about the United States health secretary outright denying the existence of medical marijuana?