The Best Defense is a Good Offense: Why Public Health Officials Need to Get Tough on Vaccination

BY RICHARD M. CARPIANO and JASON CHUNG

Measles are preventable with vaccines so why are vaccination rates going down?/Dave Haygarth via Flickr

It’s a scary time for many parents and their children in Washington, Oregon, and New York, which are currently experiencing measles outbreaks. The vaunted herd immunity that has kept Americans safe for the past few decades is being eroded—via lower child vaccination coverage in communities throughout the US due to an increase in vaccination exemptions.

For years, fingers have been pointed at discredited doctor Andrew Wakefield for starting the spread of the now-debunked link between autism and the measles vaccine. Likewise, social media misinformation campaigns from so-called mommy blogs and anti-vaccination (often termed “anti-vaxxer”) activist groups have been effective in propagandizing pseudo-science ignorance among parents and politicians alike through websites, online ads, phony-expert panel talks, celebrity allies, online and in-person “word-of-mouth,” and aggressive political lobbying.

Weedonomics: What Canada Can Teach Us About the Business of Getting High

By JASON CHUNG

MedMen, Venice, CA/John Irvine

On October 16, 2018, Canada officially legalized recreational marijuana across the country. From coast-to-coast, friendly Canadians waited in line to become among the first to legally purchase and consume cannabis for entirely recreational purposes.

Months later, with the high of legalization waning, many Canadian consumers are facing up to the harsh realities of government-sanctioned and controlled vices. According to Statistics Canada, prices are now 17.4% higher than prior to legalization, scarce legal supply has driven some Canadians to unlicensed dispensaries and a combination of new taxes and disparate provincial administrative laws are adding a layer of complexity to a previously black market industry.

Despite this, the Democratic governments of New York and New Jersey have recently announced plans to legalize marijuana in a seemingly similar fashion.  For instance, New York governor Andrew Cuomo has announced a plan that appears positively Canuckian in nature with highlights including:

  • Establishing separate licensing programs for marijuana growers, distributors and retailers, with a ban on growers also opening retail shops;
  • Imposing a 20 percent state tax and 2 percent local tax on the sale of the drug from wholesalers to retailers, plus a per-gram tax on growers;
  • Allowing counties and large cities to ban marijuana sales within their boundaries; and
  • Banning marijuana sales to anyone under the age of 21.