The Haymaker: On OD Awareness Day, Consider a 'Cannabis Exit' – Leafly

‘The Haymaker’ is Leafly Deputy Editor Bruce Barcott’s weekly column on cannabis politics and culture.

Today is International Overdose Awareness Day, and, if it’s like any other day, 91 Americans will die from an opioid overdose before the sun rises tomorrow.

Here’s a big secret we should be shouting from the rooftops: Cannabis can help.

Cannabis can help the 2.6 million Americans struggling with opioid addiction. It may even save their lives.

It helps relieve chronic pain. It helps calm seizures. It helps a person get a good night’s sleep. And it can help many of the 2.6 million Americans battling opioid addiction—in fact, it can help save their lives.

That comes as shocking news to some people. The US Attorney General, for one.

“I am astonished to hear people suggest that we can solve our heroin crisis by legalizing marijuana—so people can trade one life-wrecking dependency for another that’s only slightly less awful.” That’s what Jeff Sessions said at a law enforcement gathering back in March.

You may disagree with his opinion. I certainly do. But Sessions speaks for a lot of reasonable, open-minded Americans on this issue.

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I don’t think Sessions is open to persuasion. Others are. I think of it as a minor variation of the larger path to legalization, which has eight stages:

Shock: “Legalize marijuana? Are you crazy?” Skepticism: “It’s way too risky. I’m voting no.” Wary conversation: “Tell me why you’re for it, you hippie. Are you high right now?” Curiosity: “How has it actually played out in Colorado?” Neutrality: “I’m a weed agnostic. Not for it. Not against it.” Active research: “Did you know Nixon’s own commission called for decriminalization

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