Another day, another instance of a misinformed and misleading cannabis-related comment from the United States Cabinet. This one comes courtesy of US Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar, who wanted to clarify his stance on medical marijuana while visiting Kettering, Ohio.
“There really is no such thing as medical marijuana,” he said, according to the Dayton Daily News. “There is no FDA approved use of marijuana, a botanical plant,” he would go on to say. “I just want to be very clear about that.”
Azar’s comments came when a local reporter asked if medical marijuana could be an alternative to opioids as treatment for pain relief. The Health Secretary further elaborated that the federal government remains focused on developing pharmaceutical alternatives to opioids. They do not view medical marijuana as an approved pain treatment.
“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,” he said.
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“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.”
Ohio voters legalized medical marijuana in 2016. The program is expected to debut later this year.