Bees Absolutely Love Cannabis and It Could Help Restore Their Populations

By Elias Marat

Bees are major fans of hemp and a recent study has found that the taller the hemp plants are the larger the number of bees that will flock to it.

The new research, spearheaded by researchers at Cornell University and published last month in Environmental Entomology, shows that humans aren’t the only fans of weed. The findings also reinforce a study published last year at Colorado State University that discovered the same thing.

The study shows how bees are highly attracted to cannabis due to the plant’s plentiful stores of pollen, and it could pave the way for scientists to figure out new ways to support their struggling population as well as floral populations.

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According to the study, the greater the area covered by the hemp plant the greater the chance that bees will swarm to the area. Additionally, those hemp plants that are taller have a much greater likelihood of attracting bees with the tallest plants attracting a stunning 17 times more bees than the shortest plants.

The study also found that as time went on greater amounts of bees visited the hemp plots on a more frequent basis. It sounds almost like the word-of-mouth effect among humans who hear about great deals at a dispensary, no?

The researchers also discovered that hemp, a major cash crop with multiple applications, can support no less than 16 different varieties of bees in the northeastern United States.

The findings may seem strange considering that cannabis doesn’t produce the sweet, sugary nectar that your typical floral varieties produce to attract insects. Nor does hemp flower come in the dazzling array of bright colors that likewise attract bugs. However, the pollen produced by male flowers is highly attractive to the 16 bee subspecies in the study for reasons that remain unknown.

Female flowers—the kind that humans like to smoke for its intoxicating and soothing effects—are basically ignored by bees since they don’t produce any actual flowers.

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The study’s author’s wrote:

The rapid expansion of hemp production in the United States… may have significant implications for agroecosystem-wide pollination dynamics.

As a late-season crop flowering during a period of seasonal floral dearth, hemp may have a particularly strong potential to enhance pollinator populations and subsequent pollination services for crops in the following year by filling gaps in late-season resource scarcity.

What makes the findings so compelling is the crucial impact it could have on suffering bee populations across the United States.

Bees are perhaps one of the most important managed pollinators in U.S. agriculture. Spreading the male sex cells of flowers to their female counterparts in a natural process that is highly crucial to plant reproduction.

According to the UN Food and Agricultural Organization, pollinators are worth anywhere from $235 and $577 billion worldwide owing to their pivotal role in the production of global crops. In the U.S. alone this means that bees are responsible for $20 billion of domestic crop production. Without bees we can kiss almonds, blueberries, watermelon, and other crops goodbye.

The authors of the study made clear that the combination of bees plus hemp won’t mean that folks should worry about cannabinoid-rich pollen sneaking it into their diets nor will the bees start producing honey enriched with tetrahydrocannabinol (THC)—as nice as that sounds.

Likewise, the presence of cannabinoids like THC in hemp pollen is “not likely to have an impact on bee development due to the loss of cannabinoid receptors in insects.”

So while we often like to focus on the recreational or medicinal use of marijuana—in its edible, smokeable, and vape-able forms—this new research shows that the plant can in fact help nature and agriculture in amazingly important ways.

By Elias Marat | Creative Commons | TheMindUnleashed.com

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Australia’s “Rain Bomb” Lands as Thunderstorms Put Out Dozens of Fires in Drought-Stricken Region

By Elias Marat

Australia is beginning to receive its first significant rainfall in months as a low-pressure system sweeps in from the east bringing a much-needed respite to parched and fire-ravaged regions across the country.

On Thursday morning, downpours already began extinguishing 32 fires across the hard-hit state of New South Wales (NSW) with the number of blazes dropping from 120 to 88, the Daily Mail reports.

Communities in NSW and Victoria are both expected to see a healthy weekend of rain from Thursday into the weekend with forecasters saying that heavy downpours and thunderstorms in the region are likely.

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The Bureau of Meteorology said that it expects anywhere from over an inch (30mm) to over 3 inches of rain through the weekend in eastern Australia.

According to Sky News, a month’s worth of rain fell over Melbourne in only a few hours.

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Earlier this week, the NSW Rural Fire Service tweeted that the rainfall would be “all of our Christmas, birthday, engagement, anniversary, wedding and graduation presents rolled into one.”

NSW Rural Fire Service Inspector Ben Shepherd said:

“It’s the most positive forecast the RFS has had in months and will give crews a chance to regroup and work on containment lines.“

However, due to an extended drought period this weekend’s rain is unlikely to put out all of the fires which authorities have warned could continue raging through March.

The bureau also warned that while the rain can help with the fires the risk of other calamities has increased. Bureau meteorologist Sarah Scully said Wednesday:

“Hopefully some of this heavy rainfall will fall over fire sites and help control or even extinguish fires.

But it’s a bit of a double-edged sword because heavy rainfall and gusty thunderstorms bring the potential for flash flooding, particularly in the burnt-out areas of NSW and Victoria which are now vulnerable to landslips and trees coming down.”

The rain could also bring a new calamity to the country by washing toxic ash into waterways potentially leading to mass fish deaths and contaminating the drinking water supplies for millions of people.

Prof Stuart Khan, an environmental engineer and water expert at the University of New South Wales, told the Guardian:

“We are in a vulnerable position with all that ash sitting on a catchment that’s unstable and prone to erosion that could include landslides and trees being dislodged.

We’re not expecting extreme rainfall, but if any places do and they’re areas that have been burned, then we’d expect ash and soil running into waterways.”

Since the fire crisis broke out in September, at least 28 people have been killed and countless others forced to evacuate—sometimes more than once—as the unprecedented wave of bushfires swept across the country. The fires have consumed upwards of 25.5 million acres (10.3 million hectares) of land, an area equal to the size of South Korea.

Over 2,000 homes have also been destroyed during the crisis with more than half being destroyed by the nightmarish blaze since January 1.

By Elias Marat | Creative Commons | TheMindUnleashed.com

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“We Were in Hell” — Thousands in Australia Seek Refuge on Beach as Wildfires, Dry Storms Rage

By Elias Marat

Thousands of locals and vacationers were plunged into nightmarish conditions Tuesday as fast-moving bushfires tore through southeast Australia, ripping through popular tourist sites and forcing people to seek refuge on nearby beaches.

Coastal towns filled with tourists who hoped to usher in 2020 in idyllic beach conditions instead were confronted with apocalyptic skies that glowed red as the massive fires mingled with choking black smoke, reports AFP. In the meantime, terrifying extreme dry-lightning storms raged nearby, threatening more fires.

About 4,000 people fled to the beaches in the town of Mallacoota as fires encircled the seaside towns, with many residents on boats even taking to the seas in a bid to ensure safety in the face of the encroaching inferno.

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Authorities had been warning tens of thousands of tourists enjoying their Australian summer holiday to evacuate the area, but many waited until it was too late to leave.

Local resident Jason Selmes, who evacuated his Mallacoota home, told CNN that “there’s no way in or out” of the seaside town.

Since late Monday, dozens of properties are estimated to have been destroyed while at least seven people remain missing in New South Wales (NSW) and Victoria.

In Batemans Bay, NSW, hundreds of families fled their homes Tuesday as the sky turned forebodingly orange. Vacationer Zoe Simmons told CNN:

“It was like we were in hell … We were all covered in ash.”

Intense fires, thick smoke, and dry-lightning storms provoked by the historic blazes combined to prevent aerial reconnaissance and water-bombing operations from proceeding, according to the New South Wales Rural Fire Service.

Australia’s bushfires have grown so monstrous that they are generating their own weather in the form of pyro-cumulonimbus clouds, or thunderstorms that create more fires, according to Victoria’s Bureau of Meteorology.

On Monday, the bureau tweeted:

“Pyro-cumulonimbus clouds have developed to altitudes over 16km in East #Gippsland this afternoon. These fire-induced storms can spread fires through lightning, lofting of embers and generation of severe wind outflows.”

Temperatures near bushfires zones can easily climb into hundreds of degrees Celsius, creating lethal perimeters around the fire that are so hot they kill anyone who is nearby long before the flames reach them.

Because of this, Victoria’s authorities urged residents to flee to the ocean as a “last-resort option.”

The historic bushfires devastating vast regions of Australia have been raging since September, laying waste to wildlife and private property alike. However, the unprecedented firestorms have only grown in the face of strong winds and a brutal heatwave that has threatened major population centers like Sydney and Melbourne.

On Monday, roughly 100,000 people in suburban Melbourne were urged to flee as the bushfire crisis rapidly closed in on the region, killing a volunteer firefighter and pushing the death-toll to 11.

City officials in Sydney still plan to hold a New Year’s Eve fireworks show despite the city being enveloped in toxic haze from the bushfires. Meanwhile, similar shows in Canberra and other regional towns have been canceled.

The Australian government headed by Prime Minister Scott Morrison has belatedly acknowledged the role of climate change in the bushfire crisis. However, Morrison’s government has also come under withering criticism for ruling out any further action to reduce emissions while continuing to pledge his support to the lucrative coal-mining industry. The government has been accused of obstructing global summits on climate change and skirting its obligations under the 2015 Paris accord.

By Elias Marat | Creative Commons | TheMindUnleashed.com

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Italy’s Top Court Legalizes Home-Grown Cannabis for Personal Use

By Elias Marat

In a landmark ruling, Italy’s Supreme Court has decriminalized growing small batches of cannabis at home for private use.

In the latest interpretation of laws governing the growth of narcotic plants, the judges decreed that “small amounts grown domestically for the exclusive use of the grower” should be exempt from criminal prosecution.

The top court’s decision was made on December 19, but wasn’t reported by national and international media outlets until Friday, sparking contentious reactions from conservative politicians who favor prohibitions as well as calls from advocates to legalize cannabis entirely.

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Matteo Salvini, leader of the far-right League Party, blasted the decision as well as the widespread trade of low-strength “legal weed” or “cannabis light” in Italy, Reuters reports. Salvini has been in the midst of a crusade against the legal sale of low-potency marijuana with THC levels under 0.6 percent, which was made legal in 2016 and upheld by the parliament earlier this month.

In a statement, Salvini said:

Drugs cause harm, forget about growing them or buying them in shops.

While Maurizio Gasparri, a senator with the right-wing Forza Italia party allied to the league, promised that if a center-right coalition comes to power it “will cancel the absurd verdict of the court.”

It still remains unclear what quantity would constitute “small-scale cultivation” under the law, but the ruling arose from a case where an offender was in possession of two plants.

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Lucio Fiorentino, the founder of cannabis supply company Cannabidiol Distribution, told La Stampa:

It’s the end of a nightmare … After Salvini’s witch hunt I had to fire 10 people and I lost 68 per cent of my revenues.

Matteo Mantero, a senator from the co-ruling Five Star Movement, has been a vocal advocate of the legalization and regulation of cannabis. Mantero commented:

The court has opened the way, now it’s up to us.

However, the complete legalization of cannabis for recreational purposes remains an uphill battle. While some figures within the Five Star Movement generally have a liberal, hands-off approach to cannabis, other members of the movement are opposed to decriminalization. The party’s center-left and centrist coalition partners are also generally cautious in their approach to cannabis.


By Elias Marat | Creative Commons | TheMindUnleashed.com

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Scientists Plan to Clone 42,000-Year-Old Horse Using Liquid Blood

By Elias Marat

A team of Russian and Korean scientists in the Siberian region of Yakutsk has managed to salvage pristine samples of liquid blood from the heart of an ancient 42,000-year-old horse that was preserved in permafrost.

Their goal? To eventually gather the cells necessary to revive the extinct species back to life through cloning.

The male foal, which was discovered last August in the Batagaika depression, is a remarkably well-preserved specimen that belongs to an extinct equestrian species known as Lenskaya, or Lena Horse, according to the Siberian Times, which populated the remote corner of Russia between 30,000 to 40,000 years ago.

Now a joint team from the North-Eastern Federal University in Yakutsk and the South Korean Sooam Biotech Research Foundation has begun analyzing the remains with the clearly expressed goal of cloning the Ice Age-era horse.

Semyon Grigoryev, the head of the Mammoth Museum in Yakutsk, told Russian news agency TASS that the autopsy has revealed the animal’s “beautifully preserved organs” as well as muscle tissue that has maintained a healthy “natural reddish color.” Likewise, the hair on its head, legs, and body parts is largely intact–a fantastic attribute given that “preserved hair is another scientific sensation as all previous ancient horses were found without hair,” Grigoryev remarked.

Grigoryev said:

We can now claim that this is the best preserved Ice Age animal ever found in the world.

The foal likely died of drowning early in life judging by the results of its autopsy, Grigoryev added.

“A lot of mud and silt which the foal gulped during the last seconds of its life were found inside its gastrointestinal tract,” Grigoryev said.

It remains unclear, however, if viable cells can be grown from the blood samples extracted so far.

However, another team of Russian scientists working alongside Japanese researchers have managed to spark activity in the cells of a well-preserved mammoth carcass that dates back 28,000 years ago.

Whether the material on-hand will provide the Russian-Korean team with the basis for a fully-cloned animal is another story, however. Interestingly enough, Gizmodo notes that lead collaborator Sooam Biotech has made a lucrative business for itself by cloning pet dogs as a means to “heal the broken hearts” of bereaved pet owners, and its own lead researcher was the subject of accusations that he had committed several egregious ethical violations in the 2000s.

Likewise, the ethics surrounding the possibility of cloning the ancient foal remain questionable for various reasons, such as the fact that the clone will likely enjoy the existence of a lab-rat throughout its life, without its natural wild habitat of Ice Age-era Siberian tundra and vast forests.

Nevertheless, the team is so “confident of success” that it is already “reportedly choosing a mother for the historic role of giving birth to the comeback species,” according to Siberian Times.

Whether the idea sounds wild or not, if it’s left up to the researchers in Yakutsk we could be in for a show lifted straight out of Jurassic Park.

This article was sourced from The Mind Unleashed.

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Scientists Found an Edible Mushroom That Eats Plastic, and It Could Clean Our Landfills

By Elias Marat

Whether we like it or not, our society has become completely reliant on plastic. From food preservation to water transportation, computer technology to healthcare and medicine, plastic can be found in nearly every facet of the human experience.

But as we well know, plastic is a double-edged sword, with massive amounts of plastic waste not only piling up in landfills, but floating in the most remote depths of our oceans and water supplies. And despite our knowledge of plastic’s harmful effects on the environment, we’ve become so reliant on plastic that there seems to be no end in sight. In fact, plastic production is growing on a yearly basis–and posing a potentially mortal threat to us all.

However, a newly-discovered type of mushroom could not only play a crucial role in slashing plastic pollution, but could have myriad other uses in addressing the environmental crises the planet faces.

Discovered in 2012 by Yale University students, Pestalotiopsis microspora is a rare species of mushroom from the Amazon rainforest that’s capable of subsisting on a diet of pure plastic, or more accurately, the main ingredient in plastic–polyurethane–before converting the human-made ingredient into purely organic matter.

And not only can Pestalotiopsis microspora live off of our plastic waste, it can also live without oxygen–meaning that the rare breed of mushroom would make an ideal agent for landfill clean-up, literally from the bottom-up.

While the idea sounds fantastic, some scientists have expressed hope that the plastic-consuming fungi can form the basis of the community waste treatment centers of the future–replacing our current practice of dumping our trash into centralized, massive landfills with small, mushroom-centered community composting centers or even home recycling kits, according to Epoch Times.

And as it turns out, Pestalotiopsis microspora isn’t alone in the world of plastic-eating mushrooms–and some of its plastic-consuming kin are event perfectly safe for us humans to consume.

In a study led by Katharina Unger for Utrecht University in the Netherlands, oyster mushrooms and other types of mushrooms were placed in agar cups with plastic waste and held in a climate-controlled dome-shaped environment. After about a month, the roots of the mushroom consumed and transformed the plastic into an edible biomass–or food–that was completely free of any toxicity from the polyurethane.



Not only was the finished product completely free of plastic, but they also had an appealing taste, according to Unger, who described them as “sweet with the smell of anise or licorice.”

Yes, that’s right: for the very first time in history, plastic trash could be a part of our food chain–in a deliberate and surprisingly healthy way. Indeed, such a discovery–if refined–could be a part of a novel solution to food scarcity in a world brimming-over with plastic waste yet scarce on food for hundreds of millions of people.

“Our research partner [Utrecht University] expects that the digestion will go much quicker once processes are fully researched and optimized,” Unger told Dezeen magazine, adding that her team “imagined it as being used with a community or small farm setting.”

The benefits of plastic-eating mushrooms seem limitless. At the State of the World’s Fungi 2018 event in Kew Gardens, London, fungi that process polyurethane were also found to be suitable as “mushroom bricks,” or a durable and sustainable building material that could be suitable for building homes.

The management and elimination of plastic waste is among the greatest challenges we face in saving our environment. But if the natural rate of decomposition can be reduced from 400 years to a mere few months, then these fungi could soon be taking over the world.

This article was sourced from The Mind Unleashed.

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70% of Produce Sold in US is Contaminated With Pesticides, Even After You Wash It

By Elias Marat

If you’re buying fresh fruits and vegetables in the United States, 70 percent of it will carry pesticide residues on it even after you’ve washed it, according to a new study from a widely-respected health advocacy group.

The Environmental Working Group’s annual analysis of U.S. Department of Agriculture data offers grim evidence of the over-saturation of pesticides and toxic chemicals in conventional agriculture in the United States, with top crops such as spinach and strawberries counting among the most contaminated produce.

The group hopes the report will inform shoppers of the risks inherent in buying and consuming conventionally-grown produce versus organic fruits and vegetables.

Most surprisingly, kale–that trendy dark green superfood that’s risen to the top of health-conscious grocers’ lists in the past decade–is among the top three contaminated fruits and vegetables, with 92 percent of non-organic kale containing residues from at least two or more pesticides. Some kale sampled carried the residue of no less than 18 different types of pesticides.

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In a statement, EWG toxicologist Alexis Temkin said:

“We were surprised kale had so many pesticides on it, but the test results were unequivocal … Fruits and vegetables are an important part of everyone’s diet, and when it comes to some conventionally grown produce items, such as kale, choosing organic may be a better option.”

Both spinach and kale carried between 10 to 80 percent more pesticide residue by sheer weight than any other crop, respectively ranking second and third on the “dirty dozen” list of popular vegetables carrying the most pesticides.

Strawberries lead the pack, containing an average of nearly 8 different pesticides per sample–a shocking figure when considering that the average U.S. resident consumes around eight pounds of fresh strawberries per year.

Strawberry growers in regions across the west coast dump vast amounts of pesticides and poisonous gases on fields to make them safe for strawberry cultivation before further exposing crops to fumigation. The use of toxic pesticides in agricultural communities has seen California cities such as Oxnard, Santa Maria and Watsonville face mounting numbers of respiratory disorders, birth defects and illnesses, particularly by farm workers and neighborhoods near the fields.



And while the European Union has banned many of the pesticides used by U.S. strawberry growers, lobbyists from corporations like Dow Chemical Company have ensured that government turns a blind eye to the overuse of carcinogenic pesticides.

The EWG also noted that over “90 percent of samples of strawberries, apples, cherries, spinach, nectarines and kale tested positive for residues of two or more pesticides.”

All nutritional experts and scientists agree that people benefit from a diet rich in fruits and vegetables, as well as fresh produce–be it organic or conventional, depending on people’s budgetary constraints.

Yet the continued excessive usage of pesticides–largely by big food manufacturers and growers seeking to minimize costs–has made it difficult for health experts and regulatory bodies to accurately gauge the extent of pesticide exposure in our day-to-day lives, let alone to understand how the combinations of chemicals we’re exposed to can affect our bodies.

EWG research analyst Carla Burns noted:

The main route of pesticide exposure for most Americans who do not live or work on or near farms is through their diet … Studies have shown that eating fruits and vegetables free of pesticides benefits health, and this is especially important for pregnant women and children

Yet the researcher noted that regardless of the grim findings from the EWG study, “the health benefits of a diet rich in fruits and vegetables outweigh the risks of pesticide exposure.”

EWG’s “Dirty Dozen” for 2019 is:

  1. Strawberries
  2. Spinach
  3. Kale
  4. Nectarines
  5. Apples
  6. Grapes
  7. Peaches
  8. Cherries
  9. Pears
  10. Tomatoes
  11. Celery
  12. Potatoes



This article was sourced from The Mind Unleashed

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Coca-Cola Admits It Produces 3.3 Million Tons of New Plastic Packaging Per Year

By Elias Marat

The world is literally swimming in the filth produced by private industry, with our oceans becoming a vast dumping-ground for waste as plastic manufacturers and petrochemical companies continue to rake in profits with little regard for the long-term cost of a growing plastic garbage crisis.

Thus it comes as a surprise that one of the biggest producers of plastic packaging, the Coca-Cola Company, has admitted that it produces a staggering 3.3 million tons of plastic packaging per year, the rough equivalent of 200,000 bottles every minute.

The company had previously refused to release the mind-boggling figure, but finally disclosed the information to The Ellen MacArthur Foundation, a charity that has been campaigning alongside UN Environment to convince governments and the world’s largest plastic producing corporations to commit to reduce and ultimately eliminate unnecessary plastic packaging by 2025.

The charity released a report that also includes data from over 30 other companies – including Mars, The Kellogg Company and conglomerates Unilever and Nestlé – who agreed to disclose their annual plastic packaging volumes, a move hailed by the foundation as “an important step toward greater transparency.”  According to the report, the companies collectively produce eight million tons of plastic packaging on an annual basis.

The exact figures of the plastic usage isn’t broken down in the report, but according to The Guardian, Coca-Cola’s reported volume is equal to 108 polyethylene terephthalate or PET plastic bottles per year – over a fifth of the global PET bottle output, which stands at about 500 billion per year.

About 150 companies have agreed to commit to the foundation’s New Plastics Economy initiative, but many of the top-tier corporations – including, L’Oreal, Pepsico, H&M, Walmart, and others – continue to refuse to own up to how much plastic packaging they produce.

The foundation’s commitment also calls to innovate to ensure that 100 percent of all plastic packaging can be easily recycled, reused or composted by 2025, and for a circular economy to be created that boosts the volume of plastic that is reused or recycled into new packaging.

Airlines, food chains and hotels have abstained from the commitment, as have most raw material plastic producers – with the exception of two companies: Indorama and Borealis.

The leader of the initiative, Sander Defruyt, has chided industry leaders for not moving with the urgency required to tackle a growing plastic waste crisis, telling The Guardian:

They are still far from truly matching the scale of the problem, particularly when it comes to elimination of unnecessary items and innovation towards reuse models.

Ambition levels must continue to rise to make real strides in addressing global plastic pollution by 2025, and moving from commitment to action is crucial.

The use of plastic is key to the workings of the global economy, and while it causes huge harm to the environment, its usage has also paved the way to spectacular advances in modern society in the fields of medicine, food preservation, water transportation, hygiene, high technology and a range of other applications.

However, in an economy that places the greatest incentive on short-term profit and a culture that revolves around mass consumerism and convenience, plastics have also become a curse – with a “throwaway” mentality displacing durable, reusable, and washable products in favor of single-use disposables.

Plastics and microplastics have inundated the world’s oceans and water supplies, leaching carcinogenic toxins and chemicals into the marine environment, with plastic drink containers trapping and confining – and ultimately killing – small marine organisms and small fish.

According to a report prepared for the 2016 World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, by 2050 it is estimated that the plastic waste in the ocean will outweigh all fish.

And as fracked natural gas supplies increase in the United States and across the world, the cost of producing and exporting plastics has become cheaper, making the plastic market hugely profitable once again for the fossil fuel and petrochemical industries.

This article was sourced from The Mind Unleashed.

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Johnson & Johnson Exposed as “Kingpin” Supplier, Seller, Lobbyist of Opioid Epidemic

By Elias Marat

Transnational corporation Johnson & Johnson has been accused of playing the role of “kingpin” in the nationwide opioid epidemic that continues to claim thousands of lives every year, according to an Axios report.

The pharmaceutical, medical, and consumer goods giant–which holds a range of properties including some of the most recognizable U.S. brands such as Band-Aids, No More Tears baby shampoo, and Neosporin, among others–has been accused by officials in the state of Oklahoma of playing the role of supplier, seller and lobbyist in the global opioid market.

J&J’s work in the painkiller market was done through two subsidiaries, Noramco and Tasmanian Alkaloids, which it sold to a private equity firm in 2016 for $650 million, according to Axios.

The company has long depicted itself as a “family company” operating under the credo:

We are responsible to the communities in which we live and work and to the world community as well.

But the new revelations cast, in sharp relief, how the company pulverized entire communities and destroyed families while raking in massive profits from a crisis that has fed waves of crime and a crisis of addiction and deadly overdoses that claim over 100 lives per day.

Oklahoma Attorney General Mike Hunter has requested that the state release a vast tranche of confidential documents numbering in the millions of pages that Johnson & Johnson was forced to submit during the discovery phase of Oklahoma’s legal fight against the key companies who sparked the opioid crisis.

In his request, Hunter noted:

Oklahomans deserve answers … [we] need to know about how one particular company, J&J, inserted itself into our State and sought to influence every opioid-related decision the State made or considered – from scheduling to swallowing … J&J continues to fight to keep those answers concealed. In the dark. Away from the public.

He added:

The public … deserves to know the full extent of J&J’s efforts to influence policymakers at all levels of government in order to increase sales of their (and their co-conspirators’) drugs.

The litigation hints at how the culpability for the opioid epidemic can hardly be restricted to companies such as Purdue Pharma, the producer of OxyContin. Purdue is currently being sued by Massachusetts for its role in deliberately misleading the public over the lethal dangers of its opioid painkillers.

Yet the new report shows how J&J played a key role in producing the plant materials–such as the raw narcotics from Tasmanian poppy fields–which were turned into the active ingredients of popular opioids, including those produced by Purdue Pharma.

In investor slides, the company also openly boasted of the addictive qualities of its products, noting that its opium poppies “enabled the growth of oxycodone,” while the morphine content of its other poppy was among “the highest in the world.”

In the meantime, the company also reportedly provided funding for pro-opioid advocacy groups such as the Pain Care Forum. Brochures for seniors produced by a company subsidiary also made the ludicrous false claim that “opioids are rarely addictive.” Such propaganda and promotional efforts, referred to as a “pro-opioid echo chamber” in the motion, were a part of the company’s concerted effort to target vulnerable demographic groups, including children.

J&J has lambasted the attorney general’s motion as containing “baseless and unsubstantiated” allegations meant to generate “sensationalistic headlines and to poison potential jurors.” The company has also argued that its subsidiaries, which were sold to private equity firms years ago, “met all laws and regulations.”

Yet it remains obvious, based on the once-confidential material that Oklahoma now possesses, that the company had been making billions of dollars hand over fist while trafficking and hustling addictive substances through what it called its “pain management franchise.”

And as increased calls to tackle the opioid crisis grow louder, from the White House to state legislatures and the streets, it remains clear that the big players who caused the crisis should be exposed from top to bottom, along with their nefarious practices and concerted attempts to mislead and deceive the U.S. public.

This article was sourced from The Mind Unleashed.

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