In news that should be a surprise to no one, a large drug company has donated half a million dollars to the campaign trying to prevent Arizona marijuana legalization.
The company, Arizona-based Insys Therapeutics, sells a drug that contains the controversial opioid fentanyl. Fentanyl is significantly more potent than heroin. Insys has faced lawsuits and is under state and federal investigations over how it has marketed this opioid product to doctors.
Interestingly enough, Insys also produces a drug called Syndros, which is partially made with synthetic THC. Many marijuana advocates in Arizona believe Insys is trying to prevent non-pharmaceutical marijuana from being legalized so synthetic marijuana products will earn more profits.
The chairman of the Arizona Campaign to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol, J.P. Holyoak, released a statement in response to the donation:
We are truly shocked by our opponents’ decision to keep a donation from what appears to be one of the more unscrupulous members of Big Pharma. You have a company using profits from the sale of what has been called ‘the most potent and dangerous opioid on the market’ to prevent adults from using a far less harmful substance. In addition to selling an extremely potent and dangerous opioid, they have been under investigation by numerous states and the federal government for the manner in which they have done so.
The anti-legalization group that received the donation, Arizonans for Responsible Drug Policy, refused to return the donation from Insys.
This controversial donation highlights what many marijuana advocates fear in the legalization debate, which is that Big Pharma and other moneyed interests are attempting to prevent marijuana legalization for their own benefit.
“Accepting this money undermines everything that marijuana prohibitionists say about their desire to protect public health,” Tom Angell, founder and chairman of Marijuana Majority, told The 420 Times. “It’s difficult to understand how people who profit from selling a drug like fentanyl can keep a straight face while arguing that marijuana is just too dangerous to legalize.”
Arizona has some of the toughest drug penalties in the country, and marijuana legalization could help curb the number of people entering the criminal justice system because of drug prohibition. However, that won’t happen if corporations continue attempting to block legalization.
Source: The 420 Times