Big Pharma Buys Republican Congressman, Denies D.C. Weed Legalization


In a move that political pundits and cable news carnival barkers are calling a “bi-partisan victory” the U.S. Senate narrowly avoided another damaging government shutdown by passing a last-minute multilayered spending bill over the weekend to keep the gears turning in Washington D.C. until at least September of next year.
To see just how convoluted and counterproductive our political process has become, you need look no further than this spending bill, and buried deep within in it, one Republican’s response to the weed legalization movement that he sees surging through state politics, including the nation’s capital.

It is essential that these spending bills get passed, so opportunistic politicians often see it as a chance to attach their lame, and often unpopular, pet projects onto. Such was the case with Congressman Andy Harris, a Republican out of Maryland.
Rep. Harris will be glad to tell you that marijuana is harmful to kids. So when over 70% of the voters in Washington D.C. democratically passed their new cannabis legalization law in last month’s mid-term elections, Harris leapt into action to grind things to a halt.
He argued that D.C. is not technically a state, and technically he is correct. In an emergency situation, Congress has 60 days to overturn any local legislation passed within the District of Columbia.
Considering he does not represent the voters of D.C., the Maryland Republican failed to derail their new weed law with nowhere near the support he would have needed from his colleagues.
So, like the parasite he is, Republican Congressman Andy Harris just burrowed it into the massive new $1.1 Trillion national spending bill, gambling (correctly) that his pet peeve wouldn’t be noticed in time to stop the “cromnibus” bill.
In a prepared statement released after the bill made it through both the Congress and Senate, Harris said, “I am glad Congress is going to, in a bipartisan way, uphold federal law to protect our youth by preventing legalization in Washington, D.C.” He continued, “Numerous studies show the negative impact regular recreational marijuana use has on the developing brain and on future economic opportunities for those who use this illegal drug.”
Obviously, Initiative 71 (D.C.’s pot legalization law) is specifically written for adult use only. The voters knew that when they overwhelmingly approved it, and even a weasel like Republican Congressman Andy Harris knows it when he is preparing his only defense for his lone-wolf actions against weed.
Harris cannot tell America the real reason why he is so opposed to cannabis, but an intrepid reporter named Matthew Segal over at the blog did a bit of digging and it didn’t take long to turn up dirt on the dude.
A quick peek at Andy Harris’s top financial donors shows a huge imbalance in where his campaign funding comes from. In the past year alone, Republican Congressman Andy Harris has raked in over $319,000 from health care lobbyists, many of them deeply invested in the business of pharmaceutical pain relief.
That is more than the next 9 top contributors combined.
Deep pocket lobbies like defense contractors, real estate moguls, Wall Street tycoons, oil and gas hucksters, all outspent by pill-pushing big pharma lobbyists who absolutely expect a return on their investment in the Republican Congressman from Maryland.
Spending their way to #3 on Rep . Andy Harris’s list of medical donors is a company called Emergent BioSolutions, from his home state of Maryland.
Segal kept digging and as it turns out, Emergent is the maker of a chemotherapy related drug called EpsilĀ®.
EpsilĀ® is commonly given to cancer patients to help combat the effects of oral mucositis, a nasty side-effect from the chemo that can leave the patient with painful sores inside their mouth making it even more difficult to eat or drink.
Obviously, the CEO, board members, and shareholders of Emergent cannot have a proven cancer killer like cannabis let loose in the public…why, what would it do to their bottom line?
So, for pennies on the dollar, they bought a Republican Congressman. And by way of a corrupted, broken political system, they managed to curb the flow of legal weed, at least in the nation’s capital, at least for now.