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U.S. Secretary of Health Denies Benefits of Medical Cannabis, Irks Americans

U.S. Secretary of Health Denies Benefits of Medical Cannabis, Irks Americans

Dina Al-Shibeeb
The U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar is a businessman and a lawyer and has no credential as a physician. (Image via The Hill)

Due to its medicinal benefits for children who suffer from epilepsy or autism, it’s not a surprise that medical cannabis is legal in 29 U.S. states and other countries around the globe. 

What is odd, is that the U.S. federal government continues to clamp down on marijuana legalization – medical or recreational – amid what is currently described as the “opioid crisis.”  

The U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary, Alex Azar, is the latest to deny the benefits of medical marijuana on Friday. His statements riled Americans, who criticized him for having a “big pharma” agendas. One person outraged tweeted, 

During a press conference on opioids at Brigid’s Path, an inpatient facility that treats newborns suffering from prenatal drug exposure, Azar said: “There really is no such thing as medical marijuana,” Fark reported.

Azar, who is a former executive with pharmaceutical company Eli Lilly & Co., went continued his assault even further when he said: “There is no FDA approved use of marijuana, a botanical plant. I just want to be very clear about that.”

His unsubstantiated statements were in response to a “question from the Yellow Springs News about what role he sees medical marijuana playing as an alternative to opioids for pain relief,” Fark said.

Azar also made his statements in Ohio, a state that is currently preparing to launch its medical marijuana program by issuing licenses to cultivators, processors and dispensers.

“Blatantly Ignoring Research”

But Americans on Twitter lashed out at Azar’s statement, accusing the federal government he represents of “blatantly ignoring a wealth of research that proves its value.”

Another user added: “You want to exacerbate the opioid epidemic? Appoint people like Alex Azar to head [Health and Human Services] HHS.”

Activists including veterans and a growing number of doctors believe marijuana is a much better substitute for pain relief, citing its non-addictive quality.  

“Please visit this fools Twitter feed and let him know how wrong his statement is. Former #bigpharma rep says NO SUCH THING AS MEDICAL MARIJUANA! Grrr,” one Twitter user wrote, urging people to express their wrath.

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Azar has no credentials as a doctor despite his pharmaceutical experience. He is a businessman and a lawyer. It has been reported that of “the 23 Secretaries of HHS since the agency was established, only three have been physicians.”

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