If cannabis were to become a federally approved drug, it would be regulated by The Food and Drug Administration (FDA). That being said, the most important federal agency for the cannabis industry is currently undergoing a new commissioner, Dr. Robert Califf.
Dr. Califf is widely known for his immense connection with big pharmaceutical companies. Califf has been widely criticized for his financial ties to big pharmaceutical companies which are known to pay big money in Washington D.C. to keep their own interests intact. Not only does Califf have close ties with big pharmaceutical companies, but he also has close ties to the President of the United States. Dr. Robert Califf was nominated by President Obama to replace the formerly resigned Margaret Hamburg, which turned many heads in confusion as to where the President’s intentions truly lie. Although Califf won the overall approval of the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions, there were few other legislators opposing the appraisal of Dr. Califf.
Bernie Sanders was recorded saying, “We need someone who will work to substantially lower drug prices, implement rules to safely import brand-name drugs from Canada and hold companies accountable who defraud our government. Dr. Califf is not that person,” Sanders said in a statement. “His extensive ties to the pharmaceutical industry give me no reason to believe that he would make the FDA work for ordinary Americans, rather than pharmaceutical industry CEOs.”
In order for the cannabis industry to prosper and take off, there needs to be people with higher regards towards everyday American lives in higher authority. Bernie Sanders speaks the truth for the cannabis industry. Instead of accumulating money in the hands of the CEOs, money needs to be accumulated in the health of the public and patient safety.
Dr. Michael Carome, Director of the group writes, “the attitudes he [Dr. Califf] has developed over his decades-long history of extensive financial ties to pharmaceutical and medical device companies leave him all too willing to promote the interests of regulated industries over those of public health and patient safety. This is not compatible with being the FDA commissioner.” Not only does Califf have the potential to put the cannabis industry in a detrimental state, but he has the potential to ruin the public health and safety regulations in order to promote himself and his other big pharmaceutical allies. Although there are many negative aspects to Dr. Califf and his intentions, he does have the President standing behind him, which makes this all much more bizarre.
We must ask the question: Is this move going to better American’s everyday lives? Or just make big pharma that much more powerful?