OZY on Drugs

OZY on Drugs

Why you should care

Because it seems that big business might win the drug war. 

We’ve come a long from Nancy Reagan’s “Just Say No” campaign. Magic pills, powders and leaves are serious business. And no, we’re not talking about some future pot impresario. Or some past one. At least not yet. We’re talking about an epic confrontation between government regulation and drug markets. More and more, regulation of drugs — from pot to pills — seems to be falling by the wayside. In the end, big business might win the drug war.

Get ready for a whole lotta drug deals

Legal ones, OZY contributor Rhett Martin tells us in Pharmaceutical Marketing + the First Amendment. The age-old battle between big business and government has found its way to your medicine cabinet. With restrictions on corporate speech falling away, the FDA is likely to soften its long-standing ban on “off-label promotion,” or marketing medicine for uses the FDA has not approved. The off-label promotion ban was meant to insulate doctors’ judgment from Big Pharma billion-dollar sales pitches that might have more to do with profit margins than public health. After a series of rulings that expanded corporate speech rights, the Supreme Court is poised to obliterate the off-label promotion ban if the FDA doesn’t gut it on its own. Read the rest here.

No doubt, drugs can be big business

OZY’s roving storyteller Laura Secorun Palet tells us how in Europe’s Cannabis Social Clubs. These social clubs — which have popped up in London, Paris and, especially, Barcelona — are part of a sneaky end run around Europe’s widespread prohibition of pot. They’re seemingly innocent nonprofit associations that only serve members, at least in principle. Call it a grassroots movement, emphasis on the grass. But not all is gentle and kind, bud. In June, a Catalonian club was shut down for drug trafficking, and some in the movement are pushing for more regulation, so as to distinguish good clubs from bad ones. Read more here.

A right to smoke up?

Of late, discontent with global drug policy seems to have reached an all-time, er, high, and, OZY’s Pooja Bhatia tells us, it’s fueled an argument that connoisseurs and pot-trepreneurs alike can get behind: Getting high is a human right. Last year, Human Rights Watch declared drug criminalization inherently at odds with human rights standards, in part because of its violent consequences in Latin America and mass discriminatory imprisonment in the U.S. A libertarian principle is at stake, too: As long as you don’t harm others, you shouldn’t be prevented from doing what you want with your body. To think — the human rights case against decriminalization was for decades confined to college dorm rooms and the pages of High Times magazine. Read more here.

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