By Justin Spittler, editor, Casey Daily Dispatch
Portugal was a mess in the 1980s…
The small European country had a major epidemic on its hands. Cheap heroin from Afghanistan and Pakistan flooded the country.
At its worst, one in 10 people in the country had a heroin problem. Everyone from students to bankers was shooting up.
According to The Guardian, it got so bad that “people were injecting themselves in the street, in public squares, in gardens.”
It was a genuine crisis. And the Portuguese government was out of answers.
Its war on drugs wasn’t stopping people from using. Instead, drug abuse was through the roof.
So, Portugal opted for a radical change. In 2001, the government decriminalized the possession and consumption of all drugs—marijuana, cocaine, heroin, you name it.
It also started treating drug addiction like a public health matter, instead of a criminal one.
• No other country in the world had ever opted for such a drug policy…
But, to the surprise of many, it worked.
Since 2001, Portugal’s seen a steep drop in drug overdoses, drug-related crime, and HIV infections—a tragic side effect of the country’s heroin problem.
In fact, the rate of HIV infection in Portugal fell from 104.2 new cases per million people in 2000 to 4.2 cases per million people in 2015.
• In short, Portugal’s society became healthier after it decriminalized drugs…
And it remains so to this day.
I know because I was just in Portugal. I spent four days in Porto and another four in Lisbon, the country’s largest city and capital.
During my visit, I was blown away by the sights that both cities have to offer. See for yourself.
I was also surprised to see very little drug use in the streets. In fact, I don’t recall seeing a single junkie during my time there.
You’re much more likely to see that sort of thing in San Francisco or South Florida.
• Of course, drugs haven’t completely disappeared off the streets of Portugal…
There are still dealers roaming the streets… pestering anyone who looks in their direction.
I asked some locals about it. They told me that many of these shady characters aren’t even peddling real drugs. They’re just trying to cheat unsuspecting tourists. It’s one giant scam.
Still, Portugal’s drug problem is nothing like it used to be. And again, that’s largely because the country ended its war on drugs 17 years ago.
So, why am I telling you this? Simple…
I think the U.S. could also rethink its war on drugs. And this shift in policy will present a huge money-making opportunity.
Let me explain…
• The United States has a major opioid crisis on its hands…
In 2016, more than 42,000 Americans died from opioid overdoses. That’s over 115 deaths per day.
Opioids now kill more people in America than car accidents or guns.
Sadly, this isn’t even a new phenomenon. In fact, more than 500,000 people in the United States have died from opioid overdoses since 2000. For comparison, the combined death toll of American civilians and soldiers during World War II was 418,500.
As if that weren’t enough to make you sick, consider this: about 40% of opioid deaths in 2016 were from prescription opioids.
• It’s a genuine national tragedy…
Even President Trump admits this. In fact, the White House declared the opioid crisis a “national public health emergency” last year.
The good news is that there’s hope. You see, I think Trump could soon take a page from Portugal’s book and start to wind down America’s war on drugs.
Now, I’m not saying Trump will decriminalize all drugs like Portugal did.
• But I think Trump could start by legalizing marijuana…
And it could happen within his first term.
That’s a bold prediction… some might even say a controversial one. But I have good reason to believe this will happen…
As I showed you in this Dispatch, marijuana has tremendous medical properties. People use it to treat seizures, multiple sclerosis, and certain mental disorders. It’s also shown to be effective at treating chronic pain.
• And that’s why I think it could play a huge role in ending the opioid crisis…
The medical community agrees with me. In fact, a recent study published in JAMA Internal Medicine found that states where medical marijuana is legal have seen big drops in residents’ opioid use. From NPR:
The researchers studied data from Medicare, which mostly covers people over the age of 65. (It was a convenient set of data and available to them at no cost.) They found a 14 percent reduction in opioid prescriptions in states that allow easy access to medical marijuana.
They estimate that these dispensary programs reduced the number of opioid prescriptions by 3.7 million daily doses. States that allowed homegrown marijuana for medical use saw an estimated 1.8 million fewer pills dispensed per day. To put that in perspective, from 2010 to 2015 Medicare recipients received an average of 23 million daily doses of opioids, the researchers say.
CNN also recently reported that “states with medical cannabis laws saw 20.7% fewer morphine prescriptions and 17.4% fewer hydrocodone prescriptions compared with states that did not have these laws.”
This is a big deal.
• This research shows that marijuana could get a lot of people off opioids…
…and save lives in the process.
Of course, I know some readers won’t consider this much of a solution. That’s because many folks still see marijuana as a street drug, despite its proven health benefits.
But these folks need to understand something.
Marijuana is a much healthier alternative to opioids. It’s far less addictive. And it doesn’t kill. In fact, there’s never been a single recorded marijuana overdose. Not one.
• And yet, marijuana is still a Schedule I drug…
This means the feds consider it more dangerous than meth… and just as dangerous as heroin.
It’s completely ridiculous. The good news is that the government’s starting to think about marijuana differently.
For example, just last month, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved its first ever cannabis-based drug.
The drug is called Epidiolex. It will be used to treat forms of childhood-onset epilepsy, Dravet syndrome, Lennox-Gastaut syndrome (LGS), and other treatment-resistant forms of epilepsy.
But this decision isn’t just great news for GW Pharmaceuticals (GWPH), the maker of Epidiolex. As I explained in the June 27 Dispatch, the FDA just opened the door for more marijuana-based drugs.
Not only that, this historic decision shows that the government recognizes marijuana’s medical benefits. And that means marijuana’s days as a Schedule I drug could come to an end soon.
If that happens, doctors around the country could start prescribing marijuana and marijuana-based drugs to people suffering from pain.
• That would bring hope to a lot of Americans suffering from opioid addiction…
It would also be great for investors.
That’s because any sort of marijuana legalization would send billions of dollars into marijuana stocks. That’s something you obviously want to get in front of.
So, consider speculating on U.S. marijuana stocks if you haven’t yet.
I specifically encourage you to look at companies that sell cannabidiol (CBD) products. CBD is a compound found in cannabis that offers many health benefits… but doesn’t get people high. And that makes it ideal for marijuana-based medicines. (If you missed my Dispatch on this subject, be sure to read it here.)
Just remember that the marijuana industry is still just getting started. So, treat marijuana stocks as a speculation.
Do your research. Only bet money you can afford to lose. And be sure to have an exit strategy—use stop losses and take profits when they come.
July 24, 2018
Today, a reader responds to our recent Dispatch: “The Trade War Could Soon ‘Go Nuclear’”…
I have been following Nick Giambruno and Doug Casey for some time now and have accumulated American uranium producers. Good to hear about the news regarding potential tariff impacts. Thanks.
As always, you can send any questions or suggestions for the Dispatch right here.
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