Democrats Should Be Championing This

This is awesome:

On the same day a Philly.com op-ed was published in which Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner (and Mayor Kenney) admitted the failure that was the “War on Drugs,” in the 1980s and ’90s, the DA’s office announced that it is suing 10 pharmaceutical companies in connection with the opioid epidemic and is dropping all outstanding marijuana possession charges.

In just a little over a month since taking office, Krasner has already built on the progress that began under former mayor Michael Nutter’s administration by further reforming the city’s drug policy to the point where getting busted with pot now no longer means a court date is in your future. Krasner says citations are issued approximately 90 percent of the time someone is caught with marijuana.

“What we’re talking about is the 10 percent or so that are being charged as they used to be, as misdemeanors in court,” Krasner said during a press conference Thursday. From now on, the DA will advise his staff not to pursue criminal charges against anyone arrested for marijuana possession in the city. Citations currently range from $25 for possession to $100 for those caught toking up in public.

“I did it because I felt it was the right thing to do,” Krasner said when asked of his motivation. “We could use those resources to solve homicides.”

Additionally, the DA’s office said that it had filed a lawsuit on February 2nd against Big Pharma under Pennsylvania’s Unfair Trade Practices and Consumer Protection Laws for their alleged role in creating the city’s opioid epidemic. The defendants are Purdue Pharma, L.P.; Purdue Pharma, Inc.; The Purdue Frederick Company, Inc.; Allergan Finance, LLC; Cephalon, Inc.; Teva Pharmaceuticals USA, Inc.; Endo Health Solutions, Inc.; Endo Pharmaceuticals, Inc.; Janssen Pharmaceuticals, Inc.; and Johnson & Johnson.

Meanwhile, in West Virginia:

West Virginia lawmakers rejected a proposal Thursday that would have required drug companies to report the number of prescription opioids manufactured and shipped to the state during the past decade.

By a 20-11 vote, state senators shot down a proposed amendment to legislation that aims to curb the proliferation of prescription painkillers across West Virginia.

Sen. Stephen Baldwin, D-Greenbrier, who offered the amendment, said the state has failed to hold drug companies accountable for the opioid epidemic. He called the manufacturers and distributors “one of the primary perpetrators” of the public health crisis that claims 880 lives a year and costs the state an estimated $8 billion.

“These are companies that profited tremendously when they sold us these opioids, and now they continue to profit by selling us medication-assisted-treatment drugs to get us off the opioids we’re addicted to,” Baldwin said. “They profited from our misery.”

Senate Republicans who voted against the amendment said the measure would likely impede federal lawsuits filed by cities and towns across the state against drug distributors and manufacturers. Those cases have been consolidated with lawsuits in other states and are being heard by a federal judge in Cleveland.

Protecting businesses from their actions is our state’s #1 priority.

32 replies
  1. 1
    RSR says:

    Also notable is that our current mayor championed Philly’s marijuana decrim as city council-member.

    Philly is also exploring safe-injection/consumption sites, but getting pushback from our state AG, the feds, and even some city council folks.

  2. 2

    What’s wrong with West Virginia? It was once one of the most reliably Democratic states. Now more than half of the voters seem to be hell bent on screwing themselves over. I don’t get it. Some of it might have had to do with the Blacketty Black guy who got elected president a few years ago, but the state began its lurch to the right before that.

  3. 3
    Nicole says:

    @Smedley Darlington Prunebanks (formerly Mumphrey, et al.): States don’t flip from blue to red, or vice versa, all that quickly. LBJ signed the Civil Rights Act in the 1960s, but the Dems were able to hold onto the South for a little bit longer.

    But yeah, it’s racism. Also unborn baaayyyybeeeeezzzz.

  4. 4
    Cheryl Rofer says:

    It’s excellent that there is some movement against Big Pharma. Finally.

    Another aspect of this is that the Sackler Family, owners of Perdue Pharma and who knows what else, have been a major force in overselling opioid. Their name, because of the ill-gotten money they’ve donated, appears on wings of many museums. I wondered who they were many times in Washington, DC, museums. Now I know.

    To be named and shamed.

  5. 5

    @Smedley Darlington Prunebanks (formerly Mumphrey, et al.): IIRC Joe Manchin was one of the few D yes votes on abominable immigration bill floated by Grassley which had the blessings of Miller, Kelly and the man in the WH.

  6. 6

    @Cheryl Rofer: Sackler was one of my favorite DC art museums, when I lived there in the aughts.

  7. 7
    Amaranthine RBG says:

    @Smedley Darlington Prunebanks (formerly Mumphrey, et al.):

    Most of the smart young people have been leaving for decades: http://www.register-herald.com.....0ba76.html

    It is an ongoing tragedy.

  8. 8
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Nicole:

    I think I’ve finally figured out what the “baybeez” obsession is: it’s their hack to guarantee them a spot in heaven. They heard whatsoever you do to the least of my brothers, that you do unto me and decided that if they could find the most defenseless humans of all, they could claim to help only them and not have to do anything else.

    It’s a cheat code for Christianists. If you point out that their policies are going to hurt already born men, women, and children, they can sneer that none of that matters because they’re protecting the “unborn,” who are even more helpless, so they win, QED.

  9. 9
    Steeplejack (phone) says:

    @schrodingers_cat:

    Did you see the answer about the vote count in that previous thread?

  10. 10

    @Mnemosyne: I thought it was about regulating women’s sexuality and keeping them in line, you know by keeping them barefoot and pregnant.

  11. 11

    @Steeplejack (phone): Yes I did thanks,I wanted the names of the senators too, which I finally found on the senate.gov website. Ted Cruz was a no vote. I guess the bill didn’t go far enough for him, since it didn’t ask for the DACA people’s first born in return for citizenship.

  12. 12
    Nicole says:

    @schrodingers_cat: Why not both?

  13. 13
  14. 14
    Nicole says:

    @Mnemosyne: I’ve known some ardent anti-abortion Christians, and there really is absolutely no reasoning with them. Not even pointing out that making it illegal won’t stop it; it’ll just mean more women dying. It’s mind bogglingly weird because their position has nothing to do with how things are in the real world. Unless it’s them or someone they know, and then suddenly they become very realistic, right up until they or the person they know doesn’t have to deal with being pregnant any more.

    They are similar about pre-martial sex. It was okay for them, but not for anyone else.

  15. 15
    Penus says:

    A Philly politician bashing The War on Drugs is exceptionally poor form. They just won a Grammy!

  16. 16
    oatler. says:

    As long as companies test for cannabinoids I don’t give a shit about “compassionate” opioid war bullshit This started in the 90s and nobody talks about it.

  17. 17
    tychay says:

    Philadelphia?

    The first city where Soros and co did this? https://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/criminal-justice-reformers-aim-big-targeting-local-da-races-n847436

    Elections have consequences.

  18. 18
    gene108 says:

    Krasner’s career prior to be DA was as a criminal defense attorney. It was a big deal someone with his background ran and won the race for DA.

  19. 19
    Nicole says:

    The interesting thing about the West Virginia vote is that it’s simply about blocking information getting out. It was simply about reporting a number. The fear being when the information comes out, people will take action.

    I got into it on FB with a friend of mine, who spouted all the usual talking points about guns- he was a gun owner, he’d never hurt anyone with them, he had a right to feel safe, the government would take them all away if it could, blah blah blah. I told him his need to feel safe by owning a gun was based on an erroneous assumption- that, in fact, owning a gun makes you less safe, not more. And that the NRA today is very similar to the tobacco industry in the 1950s and 1960s- doing everything it can to block information about the inherent danger in owning a firearm, just like the tobacco industry did everything it could to block information about tobacco’s health risks coming to the public. And that today, the information is out, and yet, people still smoke. Difference being, fewer of them do, and those that do are aware of the risks, so they’re making an informed choice with their health. But with guns, Americans are making an uninformed choice.

    I do think if the risks of gun ownership- the risk of suicide, the risk of domestic violence, the risk of accidental shootings- were front and center, and the talking point from every single person in favor of gun restrictions was, “Owning a gun is more dangerous than not owing one” we might see a decline in ownership. At least, I think some parents could be persuaded that pistols have no place in a house with children. Turn the talking points from solely being about mass shootings to include the huge number of suicides, accidental deaths of small children, and family members shot during arguments. Keep saying crime has been declining since the 1990s. Have the facts ready to keep spouting them, along with “The NRA is lying to you to make money.” Repeat, repeat, repeat. Americans are naturally inclined to believe the Powers That Be are lying to them.

    Because the mass shootings are terrible, but they are nothing compared to the death total from domestic violence and accidents and suicide. There are about 38,000 deaths from guns every year (that’s why right-wingers like to make the car connection- the yearly death toll from auto accidents is about the same. That’s the only connection between the two; it’s a ridiculous argument). Eleven thousand are homicides, and the rest are not. That’s a lot of accidents and suicide.

    And while we’re on the subject, “West Virginia lawmakers don’t trust their citizens to understand numbers!”

  20. 20
    efgoldman says:

    @Smedley Darlington Prunebanks (formerly Mumphrey, et al.):

    What’s wrong with West Virginia?

    The racism was always there, but it was trumped (sorry) by the solidarity of the (mostly white) union miners.
    The mines are mostly gone, the unions are gone, the jobs are gone; they have to hate somebody. Strange that the most strongly racist parts of the country are areas where the knuckle draggers are least likely ever to have encountered a person of color. [sorry no link but it’s been out there for years]

  21. 21
    efgoldman says:

    @Nicole:

    They are similar about pre-martial sex.

    “Onward Christian soldiers
    marching off to war….”

  22. 22
    gene108 says:

    @Nicole:

    @Smedley Darlington Prunebanks (formerly Mumphrey, et al.): States don’t flip from blue to red, or vice versa, all that quickly. LBJ signed the Civil Rights Act in the 1960s, but the Dems were able to hold onto the South for a little bit longe

    A lot longer. Dems only started really getting clobbered in the South in the 1990’s. When the 21st century started Alabama had a Democratic governor. Georgia had a Democratic Senator.

  23. 23
    WereBear says:

    @Nicole: It’s amazing. Their superpower is the inability to detect their own hypocrisy.

  24. 24
    gene108 says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    But they are not interested in helping fetuses. They gut places that offer prenatal care, because those places also offer birth control and a few perform abortions.

  25. 25
    Roger Moore says:

    @Nicole:

    The interesting thing about the West Virginia vote is that it’s simply about blocking information getting out. It was simply about reporting a number. The fear being when the information comes out, people will take action.

    This is modern Republicanism in a nutshell. They’re fighting reality, so the most important thing is to keep people from getting the facts. Worried about shootings cutting into gun profits? Prevent CDC from researching guns as a public health menace. Afraid global warming will hurt fossil fuel companies? Cut funding to study climate change. Whatever the problem is, preventing people from learning more about it will let your industry friends keep the profits coming in.

  26. 26
    Van Buren says:

    @efgoldman: yeah, seems unfair to ask a person to risk their life and not let them get a little nookie beforehand.

  27. 27
    331 says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    I think I’ve finally figured out what the “baybeez” obsession is: it’s their hack to guarantee them a spot in heaven. They heard whatsoever you do to the least of my brothers, that you do unto me and decided that if they could find the most defenseless humans of all, they could claim to help only them and not have to do anything else.

    It’s a cheat code for Christianists. If you point out that their policies are going to hurt already born men, women, and children, they can sneer that none of that matters because they’re protecting the “unborn,” who are even more helpless, so they win, QED.

    BOOM. That’s exactly it. An infinite “good karma hack” so they can be evil & fucked up to everyone else.

  28. 28
    Roger Moore says:

    @gene108:
    What matters isn’t helping fetuses. What matters is having a convincing story that lets you believe you’re helping fetuses. As long as they’re opposing abortion, they can ignore all the collateral damage they’re doing in the process because they can sincerely claim to have fetuses’ best interest at heart. It’s the same way that libertarian policies are terrible for the poor, but the story of tough love/pulling oneself up by the bootstraps lets them pretend those policies are actually better for poor people than offering them help. As long as they can rationalize, they’re good to go.

  29. 29
    HumboldtBlue says:

    You know what’s a lot more effective than simply not prosecuting non-violent low-level marijuana offenses? De-criminalizing the cultivation, production and distribution of medical and personal-use cannabis. That’s what.

  30. 30
    J R in WV says:

    @HumboldtBlue:

    Yes, this! Really!!!

  31. 31
    JGabriel says:

    Charleston (WV) Gazette Mail via John Cole @ Top:

    Sen. Stephen Baldwin, D-Greenbrier, who offered the amendment, said the state has failed to hold drug companies accountable for the opioid epidemic. He called the manufacturers and distributors “one of the primary perpetrators” of the public health crisis that claims 880 lives a year and costs the state an estimated $8 billion.

    “These are companies that profited tremendously when they sold us these opioids, and now they continue to profit by selling us medication-assisted-treatment drugs to get us off the opioids we’re addicted to,” Baldwin said. “They profited from our misery.”

    It’s so refreshing to see the gov’t go after the prescription opiod crisis with the same verve, vigor, and vim with which they attack the gun problem in this country,

  32. 32
    Duane says:

    Just once, once you’d think republicans could do something right. Someplace, somehow. I’ve never seen anything that surpasses their utter, contemptible worthlessness.

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