Mormon church backs deal to legalize medical marijuana in Utah

Ranking global leader Jack Gerard said they were thrilled to be part of effort to alleviate human pain and suffering

The Mormon church joined lawmakers, the governor and advocates to back a deal on Thursday that would legalize medical marijuana in conservative Utah after months of fierce debate.

The compromise comes as people prepare to vote in November on an insurgent medical marijuana ballot initiative that held its ground despite opposition from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

The Utah governor, Gary Herbert, said he would call lawmakers into a special session after the midterm election to pass the compromise into law regardless of how the initiative fared. If it passes, it will be revised under the terms of the deal. It if fails, the legislature would consider a law under the new framework.

The agreement in such a conservative state underscores the nations changing attitude toward marijuana. Medical use is now legal in more than 30 states and is also on the November ballot in Missouri. So-called recreational marijuana goes before voters in Michigan and North Dakota. If passed, it will be a first for a midwestern state.

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The Utah-based faith had opposed the ballot proposal over fears it could lead to more broad use, but its ranking global leader, Jack Gerard, said leaders were thrilled to be a part of the effort to alleviate human pain and suffering.

Though it still must go to a vote, the deal has the key backing of both the church and leaders of the Republican-dominated state legislature, who said the regulations in the hard-won agreement had their seal of approval. Unlike the ballot initiative, the compromise wont allow people to grow their own marijuana if they live too far from a dispensary. It also doesnt allow certain types of edible marijuana that could appeal to children, like cookies and brownies.

I will do everything in my power to ensure this compromise passes in the special session, said the Utah senate president, Wayne Niederhauser.

Medical marijuana advocates are backing the deal to avoid wrangling and uncertainty that could continue if the ballot initiative passes.

There will be medical cannabis here in our day in Utah, said the advocate DJ Schanz. The two sides agreed to scale back media campaigns supporting and opposing the ballot measure known as Proposition 2.

Not all medical marijuana advocates were convinced: Christine Stenquist with the group Truce said she remained skeptical about the deal and urged continued support for the ballot proposal.

Smoking marijuana would not be allowed under the ballot proposal. It instead allows edible forms, lotions or electronic cigarettes.

While the church opposed the ballot measure, leaders also made their first-ever public statement supporting the use of medical marijuana if prescribed by a doctor and dispensed by a pharmacy. The churchs positions carry outsized sway in its home state.

The faith had long frowned upon medical marijuana use because of a key church health code called the Word of Wisdom, which prohibits coffee as well as alcohol, tobacco and illegal drugs.

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You Can Now Get Cannabis On The NHS

From today, doctors in Britain will be able to prescribe cannabis-derived medicine to patients, in what’s being called a “long overdue and historical day.”

A change in the law came into effect on November 1 allowing specialist doctors – not your local GP – to prescribed cannabis-based medicinal products on a case-by-case basis for conditions where other medicines have failed, as per a statement from the UK Home Office. Furthermore, doctors will no longer need to seek approval from an expert panel in order for patients to access the medicines.

A big factor in the decision has been the dogged efforts of campaigners and highly publicized cases of Alfie Dingley and Billy Caldwell, two children with severe epilepsy who were denied access to cannabis oil despite it being the only medicine that had any relieving effect on their condition.

“Having been moved by heartbreaking cases involving sick children, it was important to me that we took swift action to help those who can benefit from medicinal cannabis,” Home Secretary Sajid Javid said in a statement.

“We have now delivered on our promise and specialist doctors will have the option to prescribe these products where there is a real need.”

Jon Liebling, Political Director of the pressure group United Patients Alliance, said in their own statement: “This is a long overdue and historical day for medical cannabis in the UK.”

Cannabis-derived medicine will be freely available through the National Health Service (NHS). According to new guidelines, it should only be prescribed when there is “clear published evidence of benefit” to the patient.

Research into the medicinal properties of cannabis is still in its early days. However, a number of small studies have shown that it could hold some true potential in the treatment of all manner of health problems, such as alleviating chronic pain, controlling muscle spasms associated with epilepsy, and reducing nausea in chemotherapy patients.

Until today, cannabis was listed as a Schedule 1 drug in the UK, which means it is judged to have no therapeutic value but can be used for research. Now, certain cannabis products are a Schedule 2 drug, meaning they have a potential medical use.

However, it’s worth remembering that most forms of cannabis remain a Class B drug, so possession of the substance for recreational use it could still land you in trouble with the law.

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The voter wave wasn’t only blue. It was progressive, too

(CNN)2018 isn’t just shaping up to be a blue wave — it has also become a ballot measure wave.

In ballot measure after ballot measure in the midterm elections, voters of all parties showed that when they get to weigh in directly on the issues rather than choosing candidates, they often vote for progress: for love, not hate; for inclusion, not division.
For example, while gubernatorial and Senate races in Florida are still mid-recount, the results of the Amendment 4 campaign in that state were clear on election night. Florida voters voted handily to restore voting rights to formerly incarcerated people who have served their time and paid their debts to society, effectively re-enfranchising 1.4 million formerly incarcerated Floridians.
    It’s hard to overstate just how critical a win this is for fair elections, criminal justice reform, and decency. It’s harder to overstate how easily the measure won — with a massive, bipartisan margin of victory.
    Given the unjust racial disparities in our nation’s mass incarceration system — black and brown people are more likely to be arrested, prosecuted and given harsher sentences than white people for the same drug crimes, even though white people commit them at the same rates — this is a huge win for racial justice, and a huge blow to Florida Republicans’ voter suppression strategy.
    But Florida wasn’t the only state where ballot measures helped move voting rights forward in the midterms. Automatic voter registration, which disproportionately enfranchises young people and people of color, passed easily in both Nevada and Michigan, two traditional swing states. In Michigan, voters also used the power of the ballot initiative to expand voting rights: They approved same-day voter registration, made it easier to request absentee ballots, and reinstated straight-ticket voting. These changes passed decisively, 67% to 33%. Over on the East Coast, voters in Maryland passed a ballot measure to implement same-day voter registration by an equally wide margin.
    But ballot measures didn’t just lead to progressive change in voting rights. Across the country, in states red and blue, voters used ballot measures to: legalize recreational marijuana in Michigan and medical marijuana in Missouri and Utah, raise the minimum wage in Arkansas and Missouri, and eliminate the “tampon tax” (the sales tax on pads and tampons) in Nevada.
    In the ballot measures that may have the most significant immediate impact on the largest number of people, in Idaho and Nebraska, and Utah, voters expanded Medicaid, boosting the number of states that have expanded Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act and bringing health care to an additional nearly half-million people.
    Those are people who will get covered in overwhelmingly red states, after the voters in those states chose to expand access to health care via a ballot initiative.
    The overwhelming progressive skew to Tuesday’s ballot measure wins might seem counterintuitive. Voters expanding Medicaid — a plank in the Democratic, not Republican, party platform — in three of the biggest conservative strongholds in the country? Voters — across the country — supporting voting rights, criminal justice reform, raising the minimum wage, and more by numbers that far outpace support for Democratic candidates?
    These votes mean many more people, mostly working families who otherwise couldn’t afford it, can access quality health care. They mean more rural hospitals stay open and portend substantial investment in job creation. All this will be a huge help to state budget bottom lines. The 2018 ballot measures and their outcomes show that most voters, even those in deep red states, prioritize their populations instead of partisanship.
    Progressives’ record in ballot measures on election day wasn’t perfect. Unfortunately anti-abortion ballot measures seeking to deprive women of their freedom passed in Alabama and West Virginia. (Though, encouragingly, voters in Oregon rejected such a measure.) But for the most part, progressive ballot measures won overwhelmingly this year, including in red states.
      There’s an important lesson hidden here: When voters are given a chance to vote directly on the issues, they vote for progressive values.

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      2018 was a blue wave, but it was also a ballot measure wave. And there’s no reason to think it’s about to subside in future elections.

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      Partisan battle over the Kavanaugh allegation

      This is a rush transcript from “The Five,” September 19, 2018. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

      GREG GUTFELD, CO-HOST: Hi, I’m Greg Gutfeld with Dr. Nicole Saphier, Juan Williams, Jesse Watters, and a staple is her balance beam, Dana Perino — “The Five.”

      This week, politics wanders blindly onto a grim unknown planet where half the world is guilty:


      SEN. MAZIE HIRONO, D-HAWAII: Guess who’s perpetuating all of these kinds of actions? It’s the men in this country. And I just want to say to the men in this country, just shut up and step up. Do the right thing for a change.


      GUTFELD: You know, may be the right thing is to not generalize? Unless, of course, you include your husband in “the men in this country.”

      Speaking of husbands:


      RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC: Your husband certainly a concerned at the time that he never really had due process to defend himself from allegations like this. Have we learned anything over the years about due process, not just for the accusers but also for the accused?

      HILLARY CLINTON, FORMER DEMOCRATIC PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: Well, I think that you have to take each of these situations sort of on their own merits. Yes, there should be due process for everyone involved. And I think that’s what Dr. Ford is asking for. She’s asking for due process. She’s asking that there be an investigation.


      GUTFELD: That was genius: She spun due process for her accused Bill into due process for Dr. Ford. I have to hand it to her.

      But today, the burden is on the accused to prove one’s innocence, even with an event decades ago that’s unclear even to the accuser. So now the Dems have gone from Borking one man to Borking a system and accusation is all you need. The legal system becomes a game of tag. Plus, it’s saying that the accused is presumed innocent is now seen as pro-abuse, why not rid us of courts all together? Just rely on memory. The media thinks it’s full-proof, but is it?

      Hillary believes she ran from sniper fire and didn’t believe Juanita. Blumenthal believed he was in ‘Nam. Brian Williams believed everything he said on talk shows. But memory is fallible for all and that’s for accuser and the accused. It’s just shocking how fast the media fires when they see the desired moving target. And after sitting on it for many months, Feinstein gave that target to them.

      But says the mob: Let’s not rush things. We’ve got all day as they twirl their rope. But what of the media? At work they swarm, but at home, do they look at their spouse or kid and think what if this ever happens to them? People love Shakespeare’s tragedies because afterwards you can go home and say, hey, I’m glad I’m not Julius Caesar. It made you welcome a humble life. No more. Today, we’re all Caesars, facing a mob of Brutuses armed with trespasses shaped like daggers and microphones.

      All right, Jesse. We need to hear from her, don’t we?

      JESSE WATTERS, CO-HOST: We do. I don’t think we are going to. I think what happened was, they thought they were going to take it up to a certain point, and then they realized that this woman was going to have to testify Monday. And that was way too soon for the Democrats because this was a delay tactic. And this is a really dirty business. And for that reason, today, I’m withdrawing from consideration from the Supreme Court, and for many administration, whatsoever, because it’s ugly. And they’re destroying this guy’s life. And I wanted to give Ford the benefit of the doubt at the beginning. Remember, on Monday and Tuesday, I’ve been saying I believe she believe something happened. Something may have happened. There was a polygraph involved. I don’t want to cast any doubt on her allegations. But the way they’re dragging this out now it’s become so political, Greg, that it’s gotten away from the actual alleged crime, and now it’s about the process and the nomination of this guy.

      She’s not doing things and the Democrats aren’t doing things in a way that people would do if she was a true victim. If you go out and you say the first thing, you hear Kavanaugh’s name, you call the Washington Post, and then you call your congresswoman, and then you call Dianne Feinstein and you say you don’t want to come forward because you want to be anonymous, but at the same time you take a polygraph test. And when they ask you how did you pay for the polygraph, you don’t say how you paid for it. And then you hire a Clinton fund-raiser as your lawyer to represent you. And now it looks like there’s some behind the scenes stuff were Brian Fallon, who worked for Hillary Clinton, has teamed up with Paige Herwig, who worked for Dianne Feinstein, and they’ve raised $5 million, a lot from George Soros, to fund a group called Demand Justice. And Demand Justice is the main organization that’s running to stop the Kavanaugh nomination. And they’re working in concert with Debra Katz, the lawyer for Ford. It’s just way, way too suspicious what’s going on. I wanted to believe her. I still kind of believe she believes something happen, but it doesn’t sit right anymore.

      GUTFELD: The timing makes it suspicious. But if, Juan, I think we’ve learned here the real tragedy is that we’re going to lose people like Jesse from the Supreme Court.


      JUAN WILLIAMS, CO-HOST: I don’t know what — he’s so divine. Can you imagine that here in that robe?

      WATTERS: They would have board me bad.

      WILLIAMS: No.


      WILLIAMS: No, man, I will be your lawyer.

      GUTFELD: Think of all the “Watters World” they’d have to go through.


      WATTERS: They’ll get through one and that is it.

      WILLIAMS: No, man, I would demand that Jesse’s mother testifies.

      WATTERS: She’ll testify against me.



      GUTFELD: Juan, if she doesn’t testify after going through this entire process, that’s — what can the Republicans do but just vote, right?

      WILLIAMS: They can do it but they would do it at great risk because I think they would be seen as bullies. The question is about the process here. And it’s about the demand that she’s making that there be an investigation before she testify, so they are testifying about known facts.

      GUTFELD: Right.

      WILLIAMS: They can have some points of commonality in the narrative and it’s not just he said-she said. But clearly, the FBI says there was no federal crime committed because this is a matter of, I would guess, if it was an assault, Maryland law back of that period. It’s a distinction to be made from when Anita Hill said that Clarence Thomas was harassing her while she was working for him in the federal government.

      GUTFELD: Right.

      WILLIAMS: The problem here is that I think that there is an effort by the Republicans to say we don’t want any more investigations. We don’t want anything. We just want to get a vote done. And it seems like they’re rushing along. That’s why I say there’s a risk for them.

      GUTFELD: But isn’t Senator Grassley trying to get this — aren’t they kind of bending over backwards to meet with this woman privately or publicly, even aren’t they willing to fly to see her? They’re doing everything possible.

      NICOLE SAPHIER, GUEST CO-HOST: I personally think that the Republicans are doing the due process that they’re saying that they’re denying her. It’s not their fault that this came so late in the game, so far into the process. They’re being very accommodating at this point. And it does seem that Dr. Ford doesn’t necessarily want to talk at this point. She’s probably not going to be there Monday. I’m not sure she’s going to allow anyone to go there. And as it stands, we just have all these hazy details. So if we’re not going to get details to help prove or disprove her claims, they have to vote.

      WILLIAMS: Why are you guys saying she won’t be there?

      GUTFELD: Well.


      WILLIAMS: No, her lawyer did not say that. Her lawyer said that she would like an investigation, but it didn’t — she didn’t preclude the idea.

      WATTERS: But there is not going to be an FBI investigation. The FBI have already said that.

      WILLIAMS: Wait a second, you’re objecting to the fact that she sang I would like an investigation?

      WATTERS: If you say I want an investigation then, she knows that it’s not going to happen.

      WILLIAMS: Oh, no.

      WATTERS: So why would you say that?

      WILLIAMS: I think you don’t know. I think — to me, it’s like a novel. We don’t know where it’s going.

      GUTFELD: That’s a good point, Dana. Do you want — I was going to roll the Grassley stuff, but I think we’re past Grassley.


      GUTFELD: We’re passed him.

      PERINO: The grass has grown.

      GUTFELD: The grass has grown. No, he was talking about the possibility. Should we roll it or should I stop talking about it.

      PERINO: Let’s play it.

      GUTFELD: Let’s play it. Let’s play it. I can’t believe I wasted time.


      SEN. CHUCK GRASSLEY, R-IOWA: I’m focused right now is doing everything that we can to make Dr. Ford comfortable with coming before a committee either in an open session or a closed session or a public or a private interview. I have hopes that this person who pleaded through the Washington Post, and I didn’t learn about anything about this until I read her name in the Washington Post.


      GUTFELD: Dana?

      PERINO: Well, people are complaining about process on the Republican side. I think the Republicans have a lot to complain about with the Democrats on the process side. Dianne Feinstein getting this letter through Congressman Eshoo’s office in July. In fact, Dianne Feinstein has since said I kind of regret — I wish I could have, maybe I should have, because she knows — she’s a statesman. She knows it was wrong to not loop that in earlier.

      GUTFELD: Dates person.

      PERINO: She’s in now in a very tough election. You have Demand Justice, which is a new group, and they’ve realized, the Democrats, that they’ve spent three decades basically not caring about judicial nominations. And the Republicans and conservatives have been very good about it. I think the Republicans have been quite responsible. The language has been responsible. Like, OK, she should be heard. She should not be insulted. That was the first thing Kellyanne Conway said and everyone followed that lead. And the president has been quite muted about it. And everyone — you can be heard. You will be heard.

      There is a question about this idea, Judge Napolitano said earlier on the 2 o’clock show, should the president asked the FBI to take two weeks, see what you can find out, and at the end of that, then vote on him and allow him to get seated by November 1st rather than October 1st. That’s not what the Democrats want. I don’t think they’re ever, ever going to be satisfied even if there is an FBI investigation. And if there’s nothing there, that won’t ever matter. Like, because, basically, the die is cast and that’s why I feel that they might just need to cast the vote.

      GUTFELD: All right. We’re going to talk about this in the upcoming block, so we’ll just sit here quietly.

      SAPHIER: To be continued.

      GUTFELD: Yes, and read our tweets. More on the battle over Brett Kavanaugh, next.



      PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: I would let the senators take their boars. Let the senators do it. They’re doing a very good job. They’ve given tremendous amounts of time. They’ve already postponed a major hearing. I’d really want to see her. I really would want to see what she has to say. If she shows up, that would be wonderful. If she doesn’t show up, that would be unfortunate.


      WATTERS: Democrats have been quick to judge Brett Kavanaugh, but what about the claims against Congressman Keith Ellison? His accuser is saying she’s been smeared by her own party, and that no one is listening to her. Saying about Democrats, quote, no, they don’t. I’ve been smeared, threatened, isolated from my own party. I’ve provided medical records from 2017, stating on two different doctor visits I told them about the abuse and who did it. My therapist release records stating that I have been dealing and healing from the abuse. So, Dana, what do you think about this? Is there a double standard here?

      PERINO: It does seem quite hypocritical because when all that — when that story was breaking, people were cautious, they wanted to be respectful of her, but nobody wanted to criticize Keith Ellison on the Democratic side. Nobody said there should be FBI investigation. No one said the Minnesota FBI, the state FBI should look into it. And he wants to be (INAUDIBLE) Supreme Court. He wants to be attorney general of Minnesota. That is — would be — he was in charge of all law enforcement. So, yes, of course, there’s some hypocrisy.

      WILLIAMS: Well, I think this is so much what about. I mean.

      PERINO: What about?

      WILLIAMS: Yeah. Because — I mean.

      PERINO: Why not?

      WILLIAMS: . nobody is really — by the way, I’ll tell you why not because in this case, groups like now said we don’t like it, we don’t think it’s fair, and they have responded to this woman. And secondly, the woman said she had a tape — said, including the journalist, let’s see the tape, and she’s refused to produce the tape. So there’s a higher level of, you know, skepticism with regard to this case.

      WATTERS: Juan. Juan, there’s actual evidence that we’ve just documented at the top with regards to doctor visits and this is only a year or two apart versus 36 years ago, and no corroborating evidence. That’s a lot different.


      SAPHIER: We’re not outside the statute of limitations on this one.

      WILLIAMS: No.


      WILLIAMS: Two things to say. One is she said she had a video and has not produced the video. The second thing to say is that we — you say there’s no corroborating evidence but I think that the professor says, in fact, she saw the therapist, she spoke to her husband, now this is way before Kavanaugh was nominated to the Supreme Court. So these things are very real. I will say this, to my mind, is that I read where she is, Professor Ford, now being threatened, her address put on the internet. You have to understand what women have to put up with if they dare to come forward, and I think she’s under attack.

      PERINO: But who was at fault for leaking her name? The only people who had this letter where the congresswoman’s office, Eshoo, the senator’s office, Dianne Feinstein, and the Democratic Party, and possibly this group, Demand Justice.

      WATTERS: Or the Washington Post.

      PERINO: It was not.

      WILLIAMS: I see.

      PERINO: It was not the Republicans who leaked her name.

      WILLIAMS: I don’t know who leaked it. So, I mean, I don’t think you do either. But, I mean, the point is that conservative groups are now associated with the leak.

      PERINO: Why? They didn’t leak it.

      WATTERS: Because she was associated with them just now.

      WILLIAMS: I’ll tell you what, we’ll leave that. But I’m just going to say the other part of this is that Judge Kavanaugh’s friend, Mark Judge, who was written about, you know, cavorting and drinking and bad behavior, has refused now to testify. Talk about who’s not cooperating.

      WATTERS: I can’t believe who drank in high school.

      WILLIAMS: No, no, no.

      WATTERS: Unbelievable. That’s breaking news. Let’s listen to — I believe her name is Mazie Hirono, and Greg played a little bit of the sound of the top. I think it’s worth reviewing. Here’s what she said about men.


      HIRONO: Guess who’s perpetuating all of these kinds of actions? It’s the men in this country. And I just want to say to the men in this country, just shut up and step up. Do the right thing for a change.


      WATTERS: Dr. Saphier, as a man, I just feel really attacked here. It’s, you know, I can’t believe we put up with this abuse.

      SAPHIER: Well, you know, I’m a mother of three boys, so I do have a soft spot in my heart for boys. But this type of behavior and these words is externally divisive, and at a time where you have Democrats saying how divisive our nation is. This isn’t helping us at all. I see no socially valuable outcome to any of this. It’s dividing us more. It’s delaying a process that’s inevitably going to end up with a conservative judge being confirmed. I would love to hear from her. If she’s not going to come, she’s not going to testify, vote. Let’s move forward.

      WATTERS: Let’s move forward, Greg. What do you think?

      GUTFELD: This — you see this more and more and I think it’s do in part of social media is that people interpret the worst intent from something you say. So, if you say like I’m going to say that Judge Kavanaugh is tarred for life based on a memory from 35 years ago initiated during a politically motivated event. Let’s face it. It never would have come out if it hadn’t been for the fact that he was up for Supreme Court. And the person that’s making the accusation has unclear memories on it. But he’s tarred for life. This will always be on his thing.

      Now, if I say that, people will say, oh, look, he feel so bad for the accused rapist. And they’ll say, like, what about the victims? I’m talking — I’m talking about somebody who is not getting due process. And I return to my point, which you have brought up, what about the men in your life? We talk about the victims and we care about the victims, but you’ve got to also care about the people who are presumed innocent. And those could be your brothers or your sons or your father’s, and it could be your sisters.

      SAPHIER: But, Greg, you just said it yourself, because you’ve just said he’s an accused rapist, and that’s what everyone is saying.

      GUTFELD: That’s what I’m saying — that’s my point.

      SAPHIER: Not even being accused of rape. Be he’s.

      GUTFELD: No, he actually is. There’s actually headlines. There’s actually headlines that are saying.

      SAPHIER: That’s what I’m saying. The media, the headlines are saying that he’s being accused of rape, and that’s not even what she has said. So he is — his reputation is tarnished no matter what, whether he did it or not.

      WATTERS: And it goes to — I can’t believe I’m saying this, but Hillary Clinton when she was on MSNBC was right. She said each case has to be judged on its own merits. You don’t say just because a woman makes an allegation she has to be believed. You don’t say just because a man denies it, you know, you’ve got to listen to the man. Innocent until proven guilty, but judge it on the merits. And I don’t know why we’re just not following that right here.

      WILLIAMS: Wait a second, you want to follow Hillary Clinton? Can we quote this.

      WATTERS: What is happening to me right now? I mean, I guess a broken clock is right twice a day.

      WILLIAMS: That’s about your chances.

      SAPHIER: Hillary Clinton can’t say that you should always stress trust what the woman said because that’s not what happened historically, especially with her. So, she’d definitely be hypocritical. So.

      WATTERS: I am not with Juanita Broderick.

      WILLIAMS: You know one question for all of us though even as — you know, I think that men are deserving of also being heard and their rights defended. But I will say for all of us, I wonder how you feel about the fact that throughout history is the women don’t get heard.

      WATTERS: Well, we’re waiting to hear from the doctor on Monday, hopefully, and we’ll see what happens as the president likes to say. Hillary Clinton refusing to go away, now she’s warning us about President Trump’s, quote, authoritarian tendencies, next.


      WILLIAMS: Welcome back. President Trump traveling to the Carolinas today to survey the damage from Hurricane Florence. The president spoke with residence and handed out warm meals to some of the people impacted by the big storm. Meanwhile, former 2016 presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, she’s back on the political scene, offering some dire predictions about President Trump and the future of our government.


      HILLARY CLINTON, FORMER DEMOCRATIC PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: What I’m worried about is that these authoritarian tendencies that we have seen at work in this administration with this president. Left unchecked could very well result in the erosion of our institutions to an extent that we’ve never imagined possible here. What I worry about, Rachel, is that after this election, this president is going to wholesale fire people. That’s my prediction for tonight. He will fire people in the White House. He will fire people in his administration who he thinks are crossing him, questioning him, undermining him.


      WILLIAMS: Wow. So, what do you think, Nicole? Do you agree with her?

      SAPHIER: Let me tell you, she just can’t stop. The only reason she’s out right now because she’s going to have an update from her most recent memoir, which is like number 8 in a series. And I’m just getting tired of hearing her opinion on things. One thing that bothered me a bit was when she was talking about President Trump being an authoritarian. You know, this is not Maduro in Venezuela where they are having a — it’s tragic what’s going on right there. What’s happening in the United States is a booming economy. It’s actually quite the opposite. You know, we have more Venezuelan immigrants coming to the United States because of it, fleeing from a real authoritarian tendency and dictator. So, I’m just kind of over listening to her opinion. It’s time for her to move on. She’s the wrong messenger for anything at this point.

      WILLIAMS: So, Jesse, I think it was today, Steve Doocy was saying he agrees with Hillary, that Trump is going to fire a lot of people after the midterms.

      WATTERS: Well, he should fire people that are undermining him. And if Hillary has a problem with Trump firing people undermining him, she must want people undermining him. Like the anonymous op-ed writer. I think Trump should fire that person if they’re trying to undermine him. I don’t understand what she’s saying. Plus, America loves when people get fired in Washington. That’s why we sent Trump there. The phrases authoritarian tendencies eroding our institutions are the reason Hillary Clinton didn’t win the election. She’s not connecting. She sounds like John Kerry. She sounds like she’s at a symposium. Speak like a real person. This is cable. Shoot from the hip. Speak from the heart. People don’t go to the polls to fight the erosion of institutions. People don’t go to a rally with a sign that says stop the erosion of our institutions. It just doesn’t connect and it looks like she’s just whining about a tough guy that came to the swamp and started kicking butt against the establishment. That’s what makes her.

      WILLIAMS: So, Jesse, just a quick back and forth. Today, the president was tweeting he doesn’t have an attorney general. It looks like she’s not talking about some anonymous writer. She’s talking about firing the attorney general because he won’t do what Trump wants with regard to the Russia probe.

      WATTERS: I think everybody knows Sessions is on his last leg.

      WILLIAMS: Oh, so you do agree with Hillary in that sense.

      WATTERS: Is that’s twice.

      GUTFELD: Twice now.


      WATTERS: What is wrong with me.

      WILLIAMS: So, Dana, here’s the thing. She said that there are five main areas of threats from President Trump undermining the law, failing to protect the election system from Russia, attacking journalists, breath taking corruption, and racist subtexts of virtually everything Trump says. What do you think?

      PERINO: Well, I think that those are all things that Democrats want to run on, and they are running on them hard in the midterm elections. It’s interesting, it’s not working everywhere. Just today, the Fox power rankings that Chris Stirewalt runs showed an improvement, especially in Nevada. That was the Democrats thought that was a pick up for them for the senate seat.

      It looks like Dean Heller is actually doing a lot better. So, you actually have Republicans figuring out ways to run based on what their state needs and figuring out a way to run with Trump and not against him, necessarily, but having a little bit of distance, and it’s working in some of those states. So, at the end of all of these, let’s say that maybe the — maybe the Republicans don’t lose the House. They’ll lose some seats. Maybe they hold on by a few. Maybe they lose the House. OK, that would be something they have to deal with. But it looks like the Republicans will keep the Senate.

      And so if the Democrats really want to succeed, talking about symposium — like you’re at a symposium isn’t going to necessarily work. I do think that what Michelle Obama is doing and announced that she’s doing is a much more helpful thing for Democrats.

      So she’s going to have a big new effort. She’s doing a big celebrity thing of voter turnout and voter registration. Democrats are very good at registering new voters, and if you register a voter, they are 99 percent likely to vote that first year that they register. So that is where a lot of energy should be placed if you want to win.

      WILLIAM: So Greg, lock her up?

      GUTFELD: Yes, immediately. She’s like “Look Who’s Talking 3.” You know, they should have stopped at “Look Who’s Talking 1.” And then every iteration just gets worse and worse.

      Look, if you begin your evidence of authoritarianism with, “He says ‘X’,” you have to immediately discount that. Right? Like, “He says things that I think are racist” or “He says things that are mean about the press.” That’s not anything, because that’s not an actual deed.

      Meanwhile, he hasn’t stopped the media. He’s woken it up. Authoritarians don’t do that. He hasn’t started wars. He’s trying to prevent them. Authoritarians don’t do that. He wants to bring the troops home. That’s all he’s been talking about. Authoritarians want to send troops out. And he wants other countries to pitch in militarily. That’s not authoritarian either.

      And I need you — and you must remember, around November 18 in 2020, it won’t be the authoritarian causing violence and intimidation in the streets. Progressives are merely fascists in camo. And when the time is right, the disguises will drop. And they’ll be out there like they were after the election. And if things don’t go their way, they’re going to be the ones hitting people over the heads with the bike locks, not Trump fans.

      WILLIAMS: Well, let’s hope not. I don’t want anybody hitting anybody.

      Stay with us. “Wild Card Wednesday” coming up on THE FIVE.


      PERINO: It’s now time for “Wild Card Wednesday.” It’s like the ’70s.

      GUTFELD: It really is. It’s like “Joker’s Wild.”

      PERINO: “Joker’s Wild.” OK, we each picked a topic that didn’t make it into the show and put them in this hat. None of us knows the stories that each other’s selected.

      So I will start with — Sometimes we get through a few of these. So we’ll start with this one.

      GUTFELD: Go fast.

      PERINO: I’m trying to open it. Gee.

      GUTFELD: Come on, butter fingers.

      PERINO: What’s going on? OK, Maroon 5 to perform at the 2019 Super Bowl halftime show — oh, I didn’t know that — on February 3 at the Mercedes- Benz Stadium in Atlanta, Georgia.

      Greg, this has got to be your dream come true.

      GUTFELD: This — OK, that was — I will tell you right now, no surprise, that was my pick of the stories.

      OK, this is officially worse than the kneeling. OK, you know how I felt about the kneeling and football. This makes kneeling totally patriotic because if they are at halftime, everybody’s got to kneel, because this is an awful, awful band.

      Do we have tape of my fave — the worst part? Please play it.


      (MUSIC: MAROON 5)


      WATTERS: What’s wrong with that?

      GUTFELD: How can you listen to that and not want to shoot yourself in the face?

      WATTERS: I disagree. He nailed that. I thought his pitch was perfect.

      GUTFELD: Oh, my God. He’s like a car alarm.

      WATTERS: No, he’s good. I like that guy. What’s his name, Adam Levine?

      SAPHIER: Adam Levine, yes. I think he has a really —

      GUTFELD: You people don’t know music.

      PERINO: He’s on that — he’s nice on that show, “The Voice.”

      GUTFELD: That’s all that matters.

      PERINO: Juan, do you like Maroon 5?

      WILLIAMS: Yes, I like Maroon 5. But I must say, in Atlanta, the home of hip-hop?

      GUTFELD: Yes.

      WILLIAMS: Wouldn’t they pick a hip-hop artist? That’s crazy.

      GUTFELD: Yes.

      SAPHIER: He has an impressive range, but it’s for a lot more melody, not necessarily pop, the great big performance.

      GUTFELD: He belongs on a range.

      PERINO: They could have chosen the Zach Brown band, because they are from Georgia.

      WILLIAMS: Yes, they should have done something like that.

      PERINO: You would have loved them.

      GUTFELD: I’ll take — I’ll take them.

      PERINO: All right. Another one is restaurants to get lobsters high on marijuana before killing them. That sounds very human, actually. A Lobster Pan (ph) is experimenting with getting lobster high on marijuana before cooking — killing them and then cooking them. They think that’s going to be nicer.

      Who — who?

      WATTERS: I chose this one. And I wanted to know why or how you get a lobster high. How do you do that?

      GUTFELD: Well, first, you rent a — you rent a movie and you call your dealer. It’s one pot to another pot.

      SAPHIER: I actually read the article to figure out how they actually did this. And they still didn’t answer the question. They essentially said —

      WATTERS: Wait. Did you just say, “I actually read the article”? Are you accusing me of not reading the article?

      WILLIAMS: This is a low blow.

      SAPHIER: I can tell you what they did in the article, but it still doesn’t make any sense.

      WATTERS: Well, what was it?

      SAPHIER: They put them in an aquarium with a couple of inches of water, and then they infuse smoke directly into the water that the lobsters are in.

      GUTFELD: It’s like a bong.

      SAPHIER: They say that the lobsters are more calm and are not trying to attack each other.

      WATTERS: That’s actually true, because I cook a lot of lobster, and for many years, our family in Maine would just put the lobsters in the boiling pot of water. And when you kill them like that, it tenses up their muscles, and then the meat is not as tender.

      GUTFELD: How insensitive to you, that the meat’s not tender. They’re suffering extricating pain, and Jesse’s going, “Oh, it’s rough.”

      WATTERS: Yes. So now we just stab them right here in the back of the head. It kills them instantaneously.

      PERINO: OK.

      WILLIAMS: Wow, wow. You know what? I think it’s interesting, because I see you get red sometimes and I think, “He’s like a lobster.” Maybe we could — oh, no, no. That wouldn’t work.

      WATTERS: Don’t test me, Williams. If anybody at this table is a little high.

      PERINO: All right. I’ve got another one here. Lawnmower parents are the new helicopter moms. They are ones that go to whatever length necessary to prevent their child from having to face adversity, struggle, or failure. Instead of preparing children for challenges, they mow obstacles down so kids won’t experience them in the first place.

      Who chose this? Doctor?

      SAPHIER: That would be me. That would be me. It’s a double-edged sword. Being a mother, being a parent, you do want to protect your children but has that pendulum swung just way too far at this point?

      We’re taking away oral presentations at school. We’re taking away grades so that people don’t get their feelings hurt. But how are they going to survive?

      I mean, I can say this, because I’m on the cusp of being a millennial. But these millennials, they don’t know how to deal with struggles, with any sort of turmoil. And I just think that’s — that’s a bad precedent for the future.

      WATTERS: So what should we be doing with these kids?

      SAPHIER: These lawnmower moms should be having their kids use the lawnmower.

      WATTERS: Chase them with the lawnmower?

      SAPHIER: You said lawnmower. You know, it’s a fine line. You want to make sure that they’re not being bullied, because the second leading cause of death in teenagers is suicide.

      WATTERS: And if you do get bullied, you tell them to punch the bully in the face. Right?

      SAPHIER: Well, I’m not going to actually say what we say at our house. As long as you don’t start it.

      GUTFELD: Martial arts is always the cure. Martial arts. Teach them how to fight.

      WATTERS: Body chop.

      SAPHIER: I always — I always tell my children defend yourselves, whether it’s verbally or physically.

      PERINO: That’s very good. I’ve got one more here. Why college students don’t vote absentee. I love this one. A focus group found that many college students who seem quite enthusiastic about voting this year will go through the process of applying for the ballots, fill it out, register, but they fail to mail them, because they do not know where to get stamps.

      GUTFELD: It’s a fair point. Juan — Juan, do you — Juan, when was the last time you licked a stamp?

      WILLIAMS: I don’t have to lick them. They are self-adhesive.

      GUTFELD: No wonder they don’t stick.

      WILLIAMS: You keep licking them.

      GUTFELD: Yes, I keep licking them. But no, it’s — why do you have to go somewhere to get these? I know you can have them mailed to you, but then you need — Never mind. You need a mailbox. I don’t have a mailbox.

      WATTERS: How much does a stamp cost now?

      PERINO: Like $0.32, I think.

      WATTERS: Thirty-two cents? In my day, Gutfeld, 19.

      PERINO: The last one, this must have been Juan’s. All the hours you spend staring at your phone are making your dog sad, expert warns. This is true.

      WILLIAMS: Is that right?

      PERINO: Dogs are like kids. They can tell that the phone is basically taking up all of your attention.

      WILLIAMS: So it’s not your husband. It’s not Peter. It’s Jasper.

      PERINO: Yes, mostly Jasper.

      GUTFELD: Do you honestly think dogs care that you have this thing?

      PERINO: Yes, totally.

      WATTERS: Greg. Greg. Careful.

      GUTFELD: I’m sorry.

      WILLIAMS: I said one time a dog didn’t have a soul, and she didn’t speak to me for weeks.

      PERINO: Well, why don’t you say it again, and we’ll see with the Internet has to say?

      WATTERS: That’s all right.

      PERINO: Everybody, he’s @JesseBWatters, if you want to check him —

      WATTERS: OK.

      PERINO: — out on Twitter.

      All right. We’re going to go now. Since we have a doctor in the house, why not get all our medical questions answered? That’s next.

      GUTFELD: Didn’t that — didn’t that —


      SAPHIER: All right. Well, since I’m the doctor, the last time I was here, THE FIVE had several medical questions for me. But apparently, they still have more. So now it’s time to ask the doctor anything. But wait, hold on. I’m not quite ready.


      WILLIAMS: Look at this.

      PERINO: Now you’re suited up.

      SAPHIER: Go.

      WILLIAMS: So you were telling me in the break that in your work — you’re a cancer doctor — that you’ve seen some breakthroughs in 3-D mammography. So I’m interested in that, but the reason I’m interested in it is there’s this thermonuclear scanning that you can scan your whole body and then, apparently, that would tell you if you have any illnesses or problems. So I’m thinking, well, maybe I should do it. What do you think?

      SAPHIER: Well, thermography is what I think you’re referring to. And that is essentially a scan that detects any increase of heat or metabolism within your body.

      The problem I have with that is it’s not very specific, and it’s not really that sensitive. And it hasn’t really proven in trials to work at all. And if something lights up, I’ll use conventional methods to look at it, like a CT scan or ultrasound, whatever.

      If there’s nothing there, then what am I supposed to do with that scan? I can’t biopsy it based off the thermography. So is it a false positive. Is it a cancer we’re missing? I don’t know.

      GUTFELD: Every time — every time I have a doctor’s office, they tell me I’m hot.

      WILLIAMS: Not cute?

      PERINO: OK, Greg, we know you have a lot of questions.

      GUTFELD: All right. I wanted to ask about ice-cream headaches. But I figured every — somebody else can ask that question.

      So new research released today — this is mind-blowing — claims that holding in flatulence leads to the offending gas exiting your mouth as bad breath.

      GUTFELD: No.

      GUTFELD: Yes, because it’s one system. So you have two outlets. You have two outlets. So if you block one outlet, it just finds an alternative route. You are a doctor. Verify this.

      SAPHIER: I have — I have yet to see that study. But I will tell you that the — from the mouth down to the other end is all connected. It’s a closed system.

      GUTFELD: Yes. Thank you.

      SAPHIER: And —

      PERINO: Why do they have to do a study? That’s obvious.

      SAPHIER: It tends to be bad breath comes from the bacteria in your mouth.

      GUTFELD: Right.

      SAPHIER: And bad breath from the other end is the bacteria in that area.

      GUTFELD: Yes.

      SAPHIER: So it’s unlikely that it’s intermixing. But if there’s a study come, I’m happy to look at it.

      GUTFELD: All I know is I think it implies that people should break wind.

      WILLIAMS: Yes, but you know, you should stop looking at “Mad” magazine for medical advice.

      PERINO: I have one. I think it was yesterday, there was another study came out, and it said it turns out high cholesterol is really not a problem at all for people. And so now you’ve had, like, three decades of people being on medicine because of their cholesterol.

      Do you think that they shouldn’t have to be on it?

      WATTERS: Yes, why do doctors get it so wrong?

      SAPHIER: All the time, apparently. Didn’t see that study yesterday either. I guess I’m just not keeping up.

      WATTERS: Are you a real doctor?

      SAPHIER: I am. Cholesterol, you know, that’s a catch-22. Are people being over treated for high cholesterol? Absolutely. And then they’re having the negative effects of medicine and interventions, because they’re being may be too aggressively treated for their cholesterol.

      Bad cholesterol absolutely does cause coronary artery disease, heart disease, strokes, a lot of bad things. So, you know, I’m not going to say, I’m not going to believe that study is saying that high collateral is a good thing. Absolutely not.

      But I would — I would venture to say that they’re saying overtreatment is a bad thing, which I may agree with.

      PERINO: OK.

      WATTERS: Juan has been exhibiting some signs of Trump Derangement Syndrome. Is there anything you can do to help him?

      WILLIAMS: Help, Doctor. Help!

      SAPHIER: I actually have to commend Juan that he sits here every day with people who have very different opinions from him, and I would say that that in itself is very healthy for him. Because you don’t want to necessarily always surround yourself with like-minded people because —

      WILLIAMS: It’s not a problem for me.

      SAPHIER: — it’s very ignorant. And I think it’s great.

      WATTERS: Also, Greg wants to know, how do you boost testosterone?

      GUTFELD: So I do want to know about ice-cream headaches. So people either have — people at home understand this. You will — either going to have an ice-cream headache or a cold throat. Like, you have something cold very quickly. Like, I can’t eat those shakes from Starbucks —

      PERINO: Frappuccinos.

      GUTFELD: Because I get this massive. It’s like the end of the earth. But then I have friends that it happens in the back of the throat. What is this?

      SAPHIER: So cold causes things to constrict in your body. It causes blood vessels, airways. So when you step out, and it’s really cold outside, you feel that tightening in your chest.

      GUTFELD: Yes.

      SAPHIER: It’s constricting. That’s the same with in your throat. That’s what happens. And headaches are caused by increased or decreased blood flow. Just the change in that.

      GUTFELD: But it’s the — if that lasted more than a minute, I would kill myself. You know how the —

      WATTERS: It’s like a migraine.

      GUTFELD: Yes. No, it’s worse.

      WATTERS: Worse than the migraine?

      GUTFELD: Yes. Is there a drug for that?

      SAPHIER: I don’t think that you should take one.

      WILLIAMS: Yes, I think it’s called marijuana.

      GUTFELD: Marijuana. I know — I know a few lobsters.

      PERINO: What do you think about medical marijuana for treatment for cancer patients?

      SAPHIER: I don’t like generalizations, however, there — cancer pain, especially when it comes to bone and nerve pain, is excruciating. And opioids do work for that, but I also know that there are a lot of cancer patients who benefit from medical marijuana.

      PERINO: So and if you do, that would be better than taking an opioid?

      GUTFELD: No!

      SAPHIER: Not necessarily better. Some things — so the thing with marijuana is that actually really — you can have terrible nausea when it comes to cancer pain and just cancer and the medications in general. And the medical marijuana actually helps with that.

      GUTFELD: Opioids getting a bad rap?

      SAPHIER: Absolutely.

      GUTFELD: Thank you.

      SAPHIER: There are a place for opioids.

      GUTFELD: Thank you.

      SAPHIER: But obviously —

      GUTFELD: We are in an opioid panic.

      SAPHIER: All right. “One More Thing” is up next. Join us.

      WATTERS: Some panic over here.


      GUTFELD: It’s time for “One More Thing” — Jesse.

      WATTERS: All right. It really, really rained hard yesterday, and for those of you who don’t understand, living in New York City, the subways when it rains is a complete disaster.

      Here’s an example of life in the New York City subway when it rains in New York City.

      PERINO: Oh, my gosh.

      WATTERS: So this is actually a subway in the city, and people couldn’t even get on and off the subway because of this. Turns out the subway water that was coming in was not water. No, no, no. It was sewage. That was actually sewage water that was pouring onto the subway that people were riding. Thanks, Cuomo!

      GUTFELD: Oh, boy. This is a poop-oriented show.


      WATTERS: And I’m on Martha MacCallum’s show tonight. Great segue.

      GUTFELD: Yes.

      PERINO: Great segue. All right. A 5-week-old kitten — think how small that is — was rescued from under a car at a monster truck race this past weekend.

      The kitten was hiding in a junk car that was used for the monster trucks to drive over. And when an onlookers noticed the cat in the car, the crowd started chanting, “Save the cat. Save the cat.”

      The crews quickly ran in, lifted the junk car, freeing the kitten from below it. And good news, spectators Melissa and her stepdaughter Samantha immediately fell in love with the kitten. They named her Showstopper after she was able to bring the loud monster truck crowd to a halt. And Jim Murdoch of News 12 down in Jersey brought this to us.

      Isn’t that cute? I mean, that would be scary.

      GUTFELD: I guess so.

      PERINO: You probably would have survived, though. You’re pretty small.

      GUTFELD: Yes, I am.

      WATTERS: Cheap shot.

      GUTFELD: Go find my podcast. I interview one of my idols? Yes.

      PERINO: And mentors.

      GUTFELD: That means I admire him. P.J. O’Rourke. Not the opposite. He doesn’t admire me. Go to It’s like a 30-minute great interview. We talk about his new book, which is called “None of My Business,” in which he explains all these kinds of economic ideas.

      PERINO: I love that.

      GUTFELD: Yes, it’s great. He’s awesome.

      PERINO: He’s a great writer.

      GUTFELD: Juan.

      WILLIAMS: It’s my turn. So look at this.

      GUTFELD: Uh-oh.

      WILLIAMS: I have a new book coming out on Tuesday. You’ve got to get to the bookstore, go to Amazon, Barnes & Noble. Here are some of my friends and family reading their advanced copies.

      The book is getting terrific reviews. Kirkus Review called the book “relevant, well-grounded, cogent response from a veteran journalist.” Civil rights hero John Lewis said, “This book is going to inspire you, move all Americans.” Historian Doug Brinkley highly recommends it and called it vivid investigation into Trump and civil rights. So conservative or liberal, if you’re in THE FIVE audience, this is a book that’s going to get you thinking, talking about Trump and the controversial issue of how he deals with race.

      So I’d like you to preorder your copy today, and I want to say thanks in advance. As you know, the book officially hits the bookstores Tuesday, September 25. So take a read.

      PERINO: Three months to Christmas.

      WILLIAMS: That’s a good idea, Dana. Thank you.

      GUTFELD: A great stocking stuffer, as they say.

      PERINO: Do you get a stocking?

      GUTFELD: No, I don’t get a stocking. I am against hosiery of all kinds. Anyway, Nicole.

      SAPHIER: All right, guys. I have a beautiful story to share with you.

      Ten-year-old Hayes was diagnosed with cerebral palsy at 18 months old and relies on a motorized wheelchair to get around. He’s always been a diehard football fan but hadn’t been able to be part of the team until his friends asked him to join the Converse Tigers for their game against their rival.

      At the end of the game they had one more play. Hayes got to carry the ball all the way to the end zone for his first touchdown ever. The crowd cheered him on and chanted his name as he made his way down the field, which ended in celebratory huddle all around Hayes from both teams.

      WILLIAMS: I love it.

      PERINO: That’s great. I need to do a correct the record.

      GUTFELD: What?

      PERINO: A stamp is actually $0.49.

      GUTFELD: Yes. When was the last time you actually saw a stamp?

      WATTERS: You are so out of touch, Dana.

      PERINO: Oh, yes. The way you bully her. How much is a loaf of bread, Mr. Watters?

      WATTERS: About 2.35.

      WILLIAMS: No, get out of here.

      WATTERS: What is it?

      WILLIAMS: A loaf of bread is a buck fifty.

      WATTERS: Two thirty-five, I shop at Whole Foods, Juan.

      WILLIAMS: Mr. Upscale. Now we know who the elite are.

      PERINO: If you buy bread for 2.35 at Whole Foods, you’re shopping in a different place.

      WILLIAMS: Why?

      PERINO: I would go on The Price is Right with you.

      WATTERS: You would?

      PERINO: I would.

      GUTFELD: That’s a crazy show.

      PERINO: Great show.

      GUTFELD: There’s devil music in that show.

      All right. Set your DVRs. Never miss an episode of “The Five.” She’s the best in that news, I deem. Her name, Shannon Bream.

      SHANNON BREAM, FOX NEWS: That might have been a little bit of a stretch, but thank you, Greg.

      Content and Programming Copyright 2018 Fox News Network, LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Copyright 2018 CQ-Roll Call, Inc. All materials herein are protected by United States copyright law and may not be reproduced, distributed, transmitted, displayed, published or broadcast without the prior written permission of CQ-Roll Call. You may not alter or remove any trademark, copyright or other notice from copies of the content.

      Read more:

      adminPartisan battle over the Kavanaugh allegation
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      Voters In 4 Red States Could Give Health Care To 400,000 On Election Day

      Voters in four states that heavily supported President Donald Trump in 2016 have a chance this Election Day to secure health coverage for nearly 400,000 low-income working people.

      Organizers in Idaho, Nebraska and Utah successfully gathered enough signatures for petitions to put ballot initiatives in front of voters this year that would expand Medicaid eligibility to include anyone earning up to 133 percent of the federal poverty level, which is about $16,000 a year for a single person and $34,000 for a family of four. Voters in Montana, which adopted Medicaid expansion in 2015, will be able to decide whether to extend the benefit, which is set to expire in the state on July 1.

      Residents of these four states have an opportunity to send a signal to Republican officeholders that voters want more health care for their neighbors, at a time when the Trump administration and GOP state officials are hard at work scaling back the reach of the Affordable Care Act and making Medicaid benefits harder to get and keep.

      It’s no coincidence that all four states are deeply conservative, because it’s conservative Republican elected officials who have resisted the expansion most strenuously. A similar dynamic is afoot in three other states — Florida, Georgia and Wisconsin — where Democratic gubernatorial candidates have made Medicaid expansion a central part of their platforms ― and have real chances to win.

      The 2010 health care law enacted by President Barack Obama called for all states to expand Medicaid, but a 2012 Supreme Court ruling permitted states to opt out, which Idaho, Nebraska, Utah and 14 other states have done.

      Under the Affordable Care Act, the federal government pays at least 90 percent of the cost of covering newly eligible enrollees, and states must finance the remainder. In states that expanded Medicaid, the uninsured rate fell more than in nonexpansion states. Moreover, the federal dollars going to those states have benefited hospitals ― especially rural facilities ― and generated economic activity, including hiring, that didn’t happen in nonexpansion states.

      Maine voters last year approved a ballot initiative to expand Medicaid — the first time that method was used to increase health coverage under the ACA expansion. Gov. Paul LePage (R), however, has thus far refused to implement it, despite court orders. Because the state legislatures in Idaho, Montana and Nebraska would have to appropriate the funding for Medicaid expansion, it’s possible lawmakers could defy the will of the voters even if the measures pass. In Utah, the initiative would simply take effect.

      The success of the Maine ballot initiative inspired activists in other states to attempt the same maneuver. Volunteers and paid organizers in Idaho, Montana, Nebraska and Utah crisscrossed their states collecting signatures from voters who wanted a chance to back the expansion at the ballot box. That was no mean feat in those conservative states, which have laws governing citizen initiatives that make it difficult to get them approved for the ballot.

      “After piloting the strategy of expanding Medicaid via ballot initiative in Maine in 2017, we’re testing whether it can work in four states that Trump won by an average of more than 20 percentage points,” said Jonathan Schleifer, the executive director of the Fairness Project, based in Washington, D.C.

      The Fairness Project is a labor-backed organization that offers financial support and logistical assistance to grassroots groups around the country promoting direct democratic action on issues like Medicaid expansion and minimum-wage increases. “Their legislatures have been an obstacle to that, and now they have a tool to actually expand Medicaid in spite of the wishes of their legislatures,” Schleifer said.

      “If we can win in these states, we can win anywhere, because what we’ve seen in health care is the biggest gap isn’t between Republicans and Democrats. It’s between the politicians and everyone else,” Schleifer said. The Fairness Project is talking with organizers in other red states about more Medicaid expansion initiatives in 2019 and 2020, he said.

      Reclaim Idaho
      Reclaim Idaho organizers traveled around the Gem State all year in one of their two RVs, campaigning for Medicaid expansion.

      Elections have consequences, as the saying goes. For people like the Blessingers, the consequences of this year’s elections could truly be life altering.

      Josh Blessinger, 39, and Pam Blessinger, 36, have two children and live in the southern part of Boise, Idaho. He is a combat veteran who served with the Marines in Iraq. She is a data specialist who works on contract with the state’s health department, working on an early intervention program for babies with hearing loss.  

      He suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder and was recently diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, for which he gets care from the Veterans Health Administration. She also has health problems, including uterine bleeding from a fibroid, as well as joint problems in her hands. But she says she hasn’t been able to get the recommended treatments for either condition because, as an independent contractor, she isn’t eligible for state benefits ― and the Blessingers don’t have enough money to buy insurance on their own.

      Josh Blessinger said that he has long identified as a conservative and a libertarian ― somebody who cherishes freedom. But he thinks expanding Medicaid in Idaho would be consistent with those beliefs. “She can’t pursue happiness when she’s trying just not to be in pain,” he said of his wife.

      Organizations representing doctors, hospitals and patients have backed these ballot initiatives in the four states. On the other side are the tobacco industry in Montana and conservative interest groups such as Americans for Prosperity in all four states.


      Three natives of Sandpoint, a small town in the northern part of the state, founded Reclaim Idaho last year to begin a grassroots campaign to expand Medicaid there. Volunteers from Reclaim Idaho and allied groups succeeded in gathering enough support by April to advance the ballot initiative.

      Medicaid expansion would offer coverage to as many as 62,000 Idahoans who are in the so-called coverage gap.

      The ACA permits people with income above 138 percent of the poverty level (in 2018, $16,753 for a single person or $37,650 for a family of four) to receive subsidies for private health insurance. In states that haven’t expanded Medicaid under the act, adults without children living at home or who do not have disabilities are ineligible for Medicaid, no matter how low their incomes are. Poor pregnant women, parents and adults with disabilities may qualify for the program, depending on income rules that vary among the states. Congress wrote the law assuming the Medicaid expansion would be nationwide and that mainly people who earn too much to qualify for Medicaid would need subsidized private insurance.

      Reclaim Idaho and its partners collected substantially more signatures than needed to place the question on the ballot. An Idaho Politics Weekly poll released in July found that 70 percent of voters surveyed said they back the expansion, including 59 percent of Republicans. Lt. Gov. Brad Little (R), running to succeed Gov. Butch Otter (R), has pledged to respect the will of the voters if the measure passes. The state legislature would be left with the task of finding a way to pay for the state’s share of the expansion’s cost. 

      “This whole movement has been a real referendum on politicians who refuse to act on behalf of their constituents,” said Emily Strizich of Moscow, Idaho, one of Reclaim Idaho’s founders. “The people who have been brought into this movement and the people we’ve been able to connect with out on the road, to me, it gives me so much hope in what could otherwise be a very dark and divisive time in politics.”

      Supporters of expanding Medicaid in Idaho include the Idaho Medical Association, Idaho Hospital Association, Idaho Sheriffs’ Association and state chapters of the American Heart Association and American Lung Association. Opposing the ballot initiative is the conservative Idaho Freedom Foundation, through a political action committee called Work Not Obamacare.


      It’s been less than four years since Gov. Steve Bullock (D) and the majority-Republican legislature enacted Medicaid expansion, but supporters are worried it could go away, taking coverage from more than 90,000 people. Under the 2015 state law, the expansion expires on July 1, 2019, unless legislators and the governor agree to extend it.

      That’s one reason a coalition called Healthy Montana is pushing a ballot initiative to take it out of the politicians’ hands and let voters decide. “We have to keep that. Too much is at stake,” said Missoula-based Amanda Cahill, the director of government relations for the American Heart Association in Montana. Tens of thousands of people are covered, rural hospitals are on surer financial footing, and the state is benefiting economically from the federal money that expansion brought, she said. 

      The movement began when organizations like the American Heart Association, American Lung Association and American Cancer Society started formulating plans last year to go around the legislature and ask voters to approve the first increase in the state’s tobacco tax since 2004. The previous tobacco tax increase also was the result of a ballot initiative, which 63 percent of voters backed.

      As these organizations began attracting new partners, including the Montana Hospital Association and Montana Medical Association, they coalesced around the idea of using the revenue generated by higher tobacco taxes to fund Medicaid expansion and other programs, Cahill said.

      That has brought stiff opposition from the tobacco industry, which is waging a much larger campaign against the ballot initiative than any interest group in the other three states. A political action committee campaigning against the measure, Montanans Against Tax Hikes, has received almost all its funding from Altria and Reynolds American, which have raised $18.5 million to fight the tax increase and Medicaid expansion.

      According to a survey conducted in April by D.C.-based Democratic polling firm Lake Research Partners for Healthy Montana, 69 percent of Montanans surveyed said they support the ballot initiative.


      Cornhusker State voters have an opportunity to make Medicaid coverage a reality for about 90,000 people, according to a report commissioned by the Nebraska Hospital Association. “Medicaid expansion is going to be something that is good for the health of our state’s economy, and it’s also good for the health of workforce and for families,” said Meg Mandy, the campaign manager for Insure the Good Life, an Omaha-based coalition spearheading the ballot effort.

      “Nebraska is a state that has resisted the Affordable Care Act every step of the way, to the detriment of people in the state,” she said.

      If the people vote in favor of the expansion, it would underscore a disconnect between Nebraskans and the people who they elect to represent them, Mandy said. “The message it sends to politicians in the legislature or even federally is that they’ve been out of touch with their constituents and with what Nebraska voters have wanted for a long time and they’d better start paying attention if they want to keep their seats,” she said.

      The ballot language does not include a financing mechanism, so the Nebraska legislature would have to devise a funding source for the state’s 10 percent share of the cost of expanding Medicaid.

      Organizations that have endorsed the Medicaid expansion include AARP Nebraska, the Nebraska Hospital Association and the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network. No polling data is available about voters’ views on the ballot question, Mandy said.


      Gov. Gary Herbert (R) and the GOP-led legislature have been debating whether to expand Medicaid for a while now, which RyLee Curtis, the campaign manager for Salt Lake City–based Utah Decides Healthcare, thinks is an advantage for her side.

      “People really understand where they fall on this issue, and it has been because we’ve had consumers over the last five years coming to the capital, meeting with the press, telling their stories,” she said. Based on an analysis of 2016 legislation to expand Medicaid, about 150,000 people could gain health coverage if voters approve the measure, she said. The expansion would be financed by increasing the state sales tax from 4.7 percent to 4.85 percent.

      “This is 150,000 Utahns that we’re talking about,” Curtis said. “We want to make sure that they have that access to health care coverage so that they can take care of themselves and their families.” Salt Lake Tribune/Hinckley Institute of Politics poll findings published last week showed 59 percent of Utah voters surveyed said they support the Medicaid expansion initiative.

      The roster of organizations that have endorsed the Utah ballot initiative is similar to those in the other three states and includes the Utah Medical Association, Utah Nurses Association and the American Diabetes Association.

      Jonathan Cohn contributed reporting.

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      Corporate America is investing in pot because people want to eat and drink it

      New York (CNN Business)If marijuana were legal in the United States, most Americans say they would try it.

      More than half of the survey’s respondents in both countries said they would likely try recreational cannabis if or when it becomes legal.
      Marijuana will become legal in Canada on October 17. It remains illegal in the United States, although a number of states allow for its use.
        The study comes at a time when many big brand name consumer companies are exploring a move into the legal cannabis business.

        Blue chip consumer companies see green in weed

        Constellation Brands (STZ), the owner of Corona, has a more than $4 billion stake in cannabis company Canopy Growth (CGC).
        During an earnings conference call with analysts last week, Constellation CEO Robert Sands said the decision to invest in the cannabis business was an “offensive move” as opposed to a defensive one.
        Sands said Constellation originally got involved with Canopy to develop drinks but that as the deal progressed, “it became evident to us that the whole market, all channels, all forms, is going to be explosive.”
        Brewer Molson Coors (TAP) is also getting into the cannabis market. It has a joint venture in Canada to develop non-alcoholic, cannabis-infused beverages.
        Coca-Cola (KO) said last month that it is “closely watching” the cannabis sector as rumors swirled about it looking to partner with Canada’s Aurora Cannabis on a beverage that would have CBD, a non-psychoactive component in marijuana, as an ingredient.
        And the chief financial officer of Pepsi (PEP) recently said during an earnings conference call with analysts that it has looked into the cannabis industry, even though it has no current plans to get into the business while marijuana is still illegal in the US.

          Cannabis comes to Fifth Avenue

        The beverage industry isn’t the only potential beneficiary.
        According to the survey, 76% said they would use legal cannabis-infused products for therapeutic reasons.
        Nearly a quarter indicated they’d try recreational cannabis via skincare products like lotions, creams and lip balms.
        And 41% of the participants said they’d be more likely to try recreational cannabis through food, slightly higher than the 39% of those surveyed who said they would smoke it.
        Randy Burt, a partner in the consumer goods and retail practice of A.T. Kearney, said the increased interest in cannabis on the part of big business makes sense considering the results of his firm’s survey.
        After all, nearly 40% of the participants said they would have an improved perception of a company if it were to become involved in the cannabis business.
          “It seems like there would be little backlash if companies introduced products with CBD,” Burt said. “Consumer companies have to factor in the potential risk to their reputation and brand name but there may be less risk than once thought.”
          “It could be very smart for consumer companies to be adding cannabis products to their portfolio,” Burt added. “It’s important to have a cannabis strategy.”

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          Political fixer Bradley Tusk seeks $70M for Tusk Ventures sophomore fund

          Longtime political operative Bradley Tusk got his start in Silicon Valley in 2011, when a little-known founder of a transportation startup requested his help surmounting regulatory barriers. That founder, Travis Kalanick, couldn’t afford Tusk’s $25,000 fee, so Tusk agreed to accept half of his payment in equity. As you can imagine, that deal worked out pretty well for Tusk, whose shares in Uber are now said to be worth $100 million.

          Tusk (pictured) spent several years advising Uber’s expansion strategy and, in 2015, decided to turn his efforts into a full-fledged business: part venture fund, part political strategy. Today, Tusk and his partner, Jordan Nof, filed paperwork to raise $70 million for their second venture fund, Tusk Venture Partners II.

          A spokesperson for Tusk Ventures declined to comment.

          Bradley Tusk on mobile voting, Uber’s IPO race with Lyft and the Dems taking over the House

          The New York-based firm previously brought in $36 million for its debut fund — capital it used to back scooter “unicorn” Bird; medical marijuana delivery company Eaze; the marketplace for household service providers Handy; cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase; and fintech startup Grove.

          In addition to deploying capital into startups, Tusk Ventures lends its political expertise to support companies plagued with regulatory barriers and communications issues, as well as help with grassroots organizing, opposition research and partnerships. Bird, of course, is an excellent example of a company that’s struggled with local politics as it has scaled across the U.S. and beyond. The scooter-sharing company was banned from San Francisco after releasing scooters without permits and has upset local leaders in Santa Monica, Los Angeles and more.

          “Our diverse team of regulatory and political experts take on entrenched interests and politicians trying to stifle innovation so our companies don’t have to,” the firm writes on its website. “Our unique model provides startups with access to political, investment and operational expertise that is second to none.”

          Prior to transitioning into startup advising and investing, Tusk served as campaign manager for Mike Bloomberg, as deputy governor of Illinois and as communications director for Senator Chuck Schumer. He also penned the book, The Fixer: My Adventures Saving Startups from Death by Politics, released last year.

          Tusk joined us last week on TechCrunch’s Equity podcast to discuss mobile voting, his thoughts on Uber’s upcoming initial public offering and sky-high valuation and Saudi money in VC. Listen to that episode below.

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          This Is What Happened When California Banned Personal Belief Exemptions To Vaccines

          Three years ago, California passed a law that did away with personal belief exemptions when it came to not vaccinating children. Because of this parents in the Golden State can no longer choose whether or not their child is vaccinated for any reason other than medical necessity – a loophole that many parents are keen to utilize, according to a study recently published in Pediatrics.

          The bill was introduced in 2015 precisely because the personal belief exemption was being used so frequently. During the 2014/2015 school year, only 90.4 percent of kindergarteners attending California’s public schools were fully immunized and while it might sound like a lot, it means the state was falling short of its target of 94 percent – the amount medical professionals say is necessary to achieve herd immunity. 

          Herd immunity is basically the idea that the entire community (or “herd”) of people can be protected against a disease provided a high enough percentage of the said population has been vaccinated against that disease. It means that even those who are unvaccinated are safe because the pathogen cannot spread. It simply does not have enough readily available hosts (ie unvaccinated people) to contaminate.  

          The passage of the bill made California the third state (behind Mississippi and West Virginia) to ban all nonmedical exemptions. So, what happened next?

          Not-so-shockingly, vaccination rates rose. In the 2017/2018 school year, 95.1 percent of kindergarteners were given the full range of vaccinations – achieving (and exceeding) the herd immunity threshold.

          But officials noticed another, more unusual, side effect. The number of medical exemptions (MEs) more than tripled.

          There are two things to point out. First, the percentage of parents who sought MEs was still relatively speaking very small, jumping 0.2 percent to 0.7 percent.

          Second, there can be really good reasons for not getting your child vaccinated. Children with severe, life-threatening allergies to the vaccine ingredients are advised against it, as are children with a weakened immune system, whether that’s due to undergoing medical treatment like radiation and chemotherapy, or a condition like HIV. Some parents who legitimately sought out medical exemptions may have used personal belief exemptions in previous years because they tend to be easier to obtain. This means that at least a small rise was always going to be inevitable.

          But to investigate what was going on, researchers conducted a series of telephone interviews between August and September 2017, speaking to 40 health officers and immunization staff from 35 of California’s 61 health jurisdictions in total. This is what they found.

          Yes, some of the additional medical exemptions were probably legitimate but health officials suspect many were not. Parents have been using reasons (like a family history of allergies or autoimmune disorders) not considered valid by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices.

          What’s more, some were actually paying doctors, nurses, and – in at least one case – a medical marijuana dispensary to provide them with exemptions. There are even cases of physicians openly advertising an exemption service for a one-off fee of $150 or more.

          So, what should be done about it?

          According to Richard Pan, State Senator, and Dorit Rubinstein Reiss, a professor of law at the University of California Hastings College of Law, “Public health officers should have the authority to invalidate unwarranted MEs and revoke the delegation of authority to grant MEs from physicians who abuse it.”

          “Vaccines are one of the greatest public health successes in history. Mandating vaccination for school is an effective strategy to prevent outbreaks. This protection is undermined when unscrupulous physicians monetize their license and abuse the authority delegated to them from the state by granting unwarranted [medical exemptions].” 

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          First FDA-approved cannabis-based drug now available in the US

          (CNN)Epidiolex, the first cannabis-based medication approved by the US Food and Drug Administration, is now available by prescription in all 50 states.

          “Because these patients have historically not responded well to available seizure medications, there has been a dire need for new therapies that aim to reduce the frequency and impact of seizures,” said Justin Gover, CEO of GW Pharmaceuticals, the maker of Epidiolex, in a written statement. “We are committed to ensuring that these patients can access this novel cannabinoid medicine that has been thoroughly studied in clinical trials, manufactured to assure quality and consistency, and is eligible to be covered by insurance for appropriate patients.”

            The quick hit history of medical marijuana

          Epidiolex was recommended for approval by an advisory committee in April and approved by the FDA in June. In September, the US Department of Justice and the Drug Enforcement Administration classified Epidiolex as a Schedule V substance, clearing the final hurdle for it to be legally prescribed by doctors in the United States. (Marijuana and CBD remain Schedule I substances.)
            “Adequate and well-controlled clinical studies supported Epidiolex’s approval, so prescribers can have confidence in the drug’s uniform strength and consistent delivery that support appropriate dosing needed for treating patients with these complex and serious epilepsy syndromes,” FDA Commissioner Dr. Scott Gottlieb said in a written statement. “The FDA will continue to support rigorous scientific research on the potential medical uses of marijuana-derived products and stand ready to work with product developers who are interested in bringing patients safe and effective, high quality products.”
            Dr. Orrin Devinsky, director of the Comprehensive Epilepsy Center at NYU Langone Health, served as the lead investigator of two of three phase three clinical trials of Epidiolex.

              Your brain on marijuana

            “In those syndromes, when [Epidiolex] was added to three other seizure [medications], on average, it reduced convulsive seizures — or ‘drop seizures’ — by about 25% to 28% compared to a placebo,” Devinsky said. “So I think it’s very important to recognize … that it clearly is effective, and this was statistically significant in all three of the large studies that we did, but by the same token, the effect was modest.
            “There are some people who had dramatic improvements. Many had a modest improvement, and some had no improvement. So it’s not a miracle drug. It’s an effective drug, and I think its side effect profile is quite good compared to other seizure drugs that we have, but it’s not a miracle cure,” Devinsky said.
            The most common side effects of Epidiolex, according to GW Pharmaceuticals, include sleepiness, decreased appetite, diarrhea and an increase in liver enzymes.
            Shauna Garris, a pharmacist, pharmacy clinical specialist and adjunct assistant professor at the University of North Carolina’s Eshelman School of Pharmacy, said the drug is effective and works somewhere between “fairly” and “very well.” She has not used Epidiolex in her own clinical practice and was not involved in the development of the drug but said she’s not sure it will live up to “all of the hype” that has surrounded it.
            Still, she said the FDA’s approval of Epidiolex signals “validation of the science of cannabinoid medication.”
            GW Pharmaceuticals says the average list price of Epidiolex is $32,500 a year. The company expects that the drug will be covered by most insurance plans and asserts that “this price is in line with other branded, FDA-approved anti-epileptic drugs (AEDs), such as Banzel, and access for eligible patients is expected to be similar to such AEDs for similar indications for LGS (e.g., Onfi and Banzel).”
            It is also launching a patient support program “to help patients who have been prescribed Epidiolex gain access to therapy. The program offers patient/caregiver-focused education and resources to help lower out-of-pocket costs or provide product at no cost for eligible patients.”
            Although Epidiolex is approved only for the treatment of two rare seizure disorders, doctors can now prescribe the medication “off-label” for other conditions. According to the US Department of Health and Human Services, this is both legal and common; one in five of all medications prescribed is for off-label use.

            Sign up here to get The Results Are In with Dr. Sanjay Gupta every Tuesday from the CNN Health team.

              “The off-label use of CBD and Epidiolex will be a fascinating subject to look at over the coming years,” Devinsky said. “Many, many patients would like to have access to it who don’t fit the criteria, and I believe many doctors will try to prescribe it, as will I for some people who I think have tried many, many medications and for whom it might be beneficial.”
              He added, “I think doctors are always trying to make those decisions about a good benefit-to-toxicity ratio, and CBD is a fairly attractive compound. The question is, what will the insurance companies do?”

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              Thailand approves medical marijuana

              (CNN)Thailand’s interim parliament voted to allow the use of medical cannabis, one of the senators who worked on the bill told CNN on Tuesday. Recreational use of the drug remains illegal.

              Lawmaker Somchai Sawangkarn said the passing of an amendment to allow medical marijuana in the country “could be considered as a New Year gift to Thais.” “The amendment (on the Narcotics Bill) was passed the second and third readings today. And will become effective once it is published on the Royal Gazette,” he said.”
              The National Legislative Assembly’s 166 members voted in favor of the change and there were no votes objecting to the motion. There were 13 members who abstained from the vote.
                This makes Thailand the first country in Southeast Asia to allow the use of medical marijuana. The region is notorious for its hardline approach to drugs and strict penalties for drug-related crimes.

                Sign up here to get The Results Are In with Dr. Sanjay Gupta every Tuesday from the CNN Health team.

                The British government approved medical marijuana earlier this year, and it became available on November 1 from the National Health System to patients with a prescription.
                  Medications derived from cannabis became legal in Germany last year. Medical marijuana is also legal in Australia and Ireland.
                  In the Unites States, medical marijuana is legal in 30 states, though the laws governing what’s permitted vary from state to state, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

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