A publicly traded Oregon cannabis company wants to launch a campaign to swap opioids for marijuana as a means to battle the nation’s opioid epidemic.

Kaya Holdings Inc. announced Tuesday that it will hold talks with Oregon state and local law enforcement authorities, and compliance officials, to launch “Kaya Cares,” a cannabis-for-opioids swap program whereby people dependent on opioids who wish to explore cannabis as a safe alternative can exchange their prescription opioids for cannabis products at no cost.

“We decided to step up and do our part after President Trump announced the war on the opioid epidemic,” said Kaya Holdings CEO Craig Frank, in a release. “Numerous studies … have shown that states with legal marijuana programs have declining rates of opioid addiction, with some states reporting a decrease in deaths as high as 25 percent. We want to help people in the communities we serve, as well as demonstrate that cannabis companies can be part of the president’s solution to the crisis.”

The company operates three marijuana retail stores to service the legal medical and recreational marijuana market in Oregon, with a fourth retail outlet is scheduled to open soon.

Additionally, it recently acquired a 26-acre parcel in Lebanon, Oregon, where it plans to develop a medical and recreational marijuana grow and manufacturing complex. It also plans to explore development of opioid-free, cannabis-infused pain relief alternatives, according to the release.

“We realize this administration has been reviewing its stance on legal marijuana and we appreciate U.S. Attorney Jeff Sessions’ clarification to Congress regarding the Cole Amendment,” said W. David Jones, senior adviser, referencing a Justice Department memo that grants states with marijuana regulatory regimes certain enforcement rights. “We wish to heed President Trump’s call to create constructive, private sector based initiatives with high probabilities of success. We believe a program like Kaya Cares … will help transition people away from dangerous opioids, making the government’s war on opioids a little more successful.”

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