There's no easy solution to the opioid epidemic, which claimed the lives of nearly 49,000 Americans in 2017 alone. But Congressperson and 2020 presidential candidate Tulsi Gabbard (D-Hawaii) says there's something that the federal government could do right now to help turn the tide of opioid addiction in America. She wants to see federal lawmakers reform America's outdated drug laws by legalizing marijuana.
"This is an epidemic that is continuing to ravage the country, and our government is not doing enough right now to solve it. And I point to one simple thing that could drastically help those who are dealing with opioid addiction...and that is ending the federal prohibition of marijuana," Representative Gabbard told Joe Rogan recently.
Gabbard backed up that stance by pointing to recent studies that suggest cannabis can help people overcome opioid addiction.
"There has been a correlation with states that have legalized either medical use or adult use of cannabis — a direct correlation in reduction of addiction as well as opioid-related deaths. This is one thing that Congress can do now to help make progress in dealing with this opioid epidemic."
But legalization alone won't cure America's opioid problem. Representative Gabbard stressed that lawmakers also need to crack down on drug companies that have not only fuelled the crisis but also profited off of the epidemic by misleading doctors as well as the general public about the dangers of opioid medications like Oxycontin and Percocet.
However, that won't be an easy task since so many federal regulators and lawmakers are under the influence of those wealthy drug companies.
"So much of this comes back to money, Joe," Gabbard said.
Check out the full interview in the clip below.