Australian-born comedian Jim Jefferies used to tell jokes about his boozy, drug-filled experiences. On his FX/FXX sit-com Legit, those stories were shifted to his friend Steve, as Jefferies became more of a responsible adult. Now on his Comedy Central faux newscast (it even briefly had a weather man in Brad Pitt) The Jim Jefferies Show, Jefferies approaches drugs and alcohol with a more serious, critical and satirical approach.
On the Oct. 24 show, Jefferies stated that a pharmaceutical company whose only product is a sublingual spray of fentanyl – a synthetic opioid painkiller as much as 50 times more powerful than heroin, which through illegal drug trafficking is a major factor in the deadly opioid epidemic – spent $500,000 to oppose legalizing medical marijuana in its home state.
The only reason he could see for that is to prevent competition. Marijuana has been shown – in some studies and anecdotally – to be an effective, non-addictive substitute for opioids to control pain. In fact, in states where medical marijuana has been legalized, the number of opioid prescription and opioid overdose deaths have decreased.
What Jefferies didn’t mention is that the same company is developing its own synthetic version of THC, the main euphoric in marijuana, which would seem to intensify its motive. *(At least one non-euphoric component of marijuana, cannabidiol or CBD, also controls pain and without a “high,” but often is grouped with marijuana for legalization purposes.)
Marijuana needs to be studied, but federal regulators still consider it a Schedule I drug like heroin with no legitimate or safe uses. More than half the states now disagree, but US Attorney General Jeff Sessions keeps making noises about how he’d like to enforce those federal laws, that marijuana is only slightly less bad than opioids. During his election campaign, President Donald Trump said he’d leave it to the states, but politicians don’t always keep their promises.
Meanwhile fentanyl, alone or laced in heroin, has been involved in many deaths, including Purple Rain singer-songwriter-musician Prince. According to CDC provisional data, such synthetic opioids are responsible for the largest number of drug overdose deaths – more than heroin.
That may be funny, but it’s not humorous.