Wednesday, June 19, 2019

Liver disease ravaging South Dakota but SDGOP points to cannabis squirrel

South Dakota and New Mexico both suffer the worst liver disease rates in the US mostly because of poor lifestyle choices but also because of easy access to pharmaceuticals metabolized by the liver.
Data gathered by the South Dakota Department of Health shows the poorest of the state’s citizens actually drink less often than the more well off: About 47 percent of those whose household income is less than $35,000 a year reported being regular drinkers, which means they consumed alcohol within 30 days of being surveyed. The number climbs to 74 percent for people whose yearly household income is $75,000 or more. Many South Dakotans live far from a hospital with a full slate of specialty care. Pierre, the state’s capital city, for example, didn’t have a cancer treatment center until 2018. Many rural hospitals offer primary care, an emergency room and not much else. [SD has high rate of death due to liver disease]
But, a red moocher state like South Dakota is powered by sin: video lootery, a loan shark industry that preys on the least fortunate, a massive gambling addiction and a too-big-to-jail banking racket fill in the gaps created by lobbyists who enjoy the protection of single-party tyranny. Homelessness in the state is rampant; drunk driving, meth use and teen binge drinking are off the charts. And because the prison, liquor and beer distribution industries give so much money to Republican lawgivers in South Dakota cops want to crack down on cannabis.
Rep. Steven Haugaard, R-Sioux Falls, pointed out that the role of government is to "never exercise a vice upon the citizens" and questioned how state officials can stop the "steamroller" of legalized marijuana. Manitoba differs from Colorado and South Dakota in that marijuana was legalized at the federal level and then the province was responsible for setting some of the parameters for legal marijuana. Nearly two-thirds of Manitoba residents indicated on a survey that they wouldn't use marijuana when it was legalized last year and the province hasn't seen a "mad rush" to use it, said Kadri Irwin, director of licensing at the Liquor, Gaming and Cannabis Authority of Manitoba. [Colorado, South Dakota officials debate merits of legalized marijuana]
Rick Holm is the Prairie Doc. His program airs on KBRK radio in Brookings, on Bill Janklow's idea of public teevee and his column appears in my hometown paper the Elkton Record, in the Brookings Register and about sixty other rural South Dakota newspapers.
During the Obama administration, the Department of Justice was directed to relax prosecution of cannabis rule-breakers while allowing state rules to supersede the U.S. law. Consider the tragedy of 70,000 deaths per year (and rising) from the overdose of legal and illegal opioids while there are almost no reported deaths from cannabis use, despite quite extensive consumption in the U.S. Most opioid abuse seems to stem initially from efforts to reduce chronic pain syndrome, and this condition seems to be potentially helped with medicinal doses of cannabis. It is time to allow medicinal use of cannabis. It might help us reduce the deaths from opioids. [Dr. Richard Holm]
Even the Republican-heavy South Dakota State Medical Association admits that although "marijuana and dronabinol decreased pain" the pharmaceutical industry produces opioids that are legal albeit highly addictive, easily abused and often deadly. South Dakota is among the worst states for opioid abuse.
Although there are different schools of thought concerning the efficacy of marijuana to treat certain medical conditions and concerning whether its possession and use ought to be decriminalized altogether, the fact remains that it is a violation of federal law and South Dakota law to possess or distribute it for any purpose. And while many states, including some close to South Dakota, have legalized the use of marijuana for medical purposes, writing a prescription for marijuana, even to a patient living in a state where its use and possession is legal, could result in a disciplinary proceeding brought by the SDBMOE. Accordingly, it is recommended that the practitioner not prescribe (either using a traditional prescription or a certification) marijuana unless and until changes in the law make it clear that doing so is legal, and then only when it is medically-necessary and appropriate. [Marijuana as Medicine]
According to the Journal of the American Medical Association opiate-related deaths have decreased some 33 percent in 13 states after therapeutic and casual cannabis were legalized.
So, legalization initiatives have a clear Democratic benefit. Democratic-leaning voters, who otherwise might have stayed home, could turn out to vote on marijuana reform. Some may leave other parts of the ballot blank, but Democrats could see a meaningful benefit overall. In a race that is close, a few thousand votes here or there could force an incumbent Republican Senator to pack up his office or shift a state’s electoral votes from red to blue. [Brookings Institution]
South Dakota has the most draconian cannabis laws in the US and the law enforcement industry can even force catheters into urethras and penises to test possession by ingestion.

Travel with Rick Steves airs on Bill Janklow's idea of public radio on Sunday mornings. Steves lives in Edmonds, Washington.
After four years of legalization, I look out my window here and marijuana's legal and it looks just like it did before it was legal. It just means we arrest 8,000 people fewer a year, it means money is being taken away from organized crime and our government is enjoying tens of millions of dollars of tax revenue that they wouldn't have had otherwise. And mature adults have the civil liberty of going home and smoking a little pot if they want to. I mean, I've got my bong right out on my shelf at home, and it's just great to have it there right next to the wine glasses. [PBS Host Rick Steves Discusses His First Trip, Breaking Marijuana Stereotypes And Being An Advocate]
Cannabis is a safe, effective palliative but black market cannabis not tested or subject to regulation makes America and South Dakota less safe. Legalizing and regulating a product that so many people enjoy is reasonable public policy that would align with our life safety concerns.

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