Weekly Update 7.21.17
With well-heeled PR firms disguising their efforts, big Pharma has turned out to be one of the staunchest foes of legalized and/or medical marijuana.
Because their data shows that when people have access to legal weed Pharma’s revenues get seriously clobbered. Their opposition has literally the opposite of any concern over health and effective, safe treatments for illness, and everything to do with preserving their bottom line.
Even if that means harming men women and children in the process.
Kinda makes you wonder about the rest of their products and offerings, or at least it should.
Mar 29, 2017
Like most grassroots movements, cannabis legalization has its own bogeymen–nebulous entities backed by kings and queens of industry who are as feared as they are loathed. Big Tobacco is in there, of course, as are the corrections and law enforcement industries. But as marijuana gains legitimate footing as a bonafide medicine accepted by top health associations and medical journals–most notably as treatment for chronic and neuropathic pain–legalization's biggest villain is, perhaps, the well-heeled pharmaceutical industry.
Activists' worst fears about this David-versus-Goliath scenario have come true over the last six months. Recent news could very well represent a tipping point in Big Pharma's quest to squash voter-approved pot-legalizing initiatives while preserving the medical marijuana market for its own products: pills and sprays made of synthetic cannabis components such as THC and CBD.·
This story begins in the months leading up to the 2016 election, when campaign finance records showed a major infusion of cash–$500,000–into the organization opposing Arizona's recreational marijuana initiative. According to Ballotpedia data, the donation was one of the largest individual contributions to any anti-legalization campaign in history. The Arizona-based company that donated the money, Insys Therapeutics, is best known for Subsys, a powerful fentanyl-based spray approved as a painkiller for cancer patients. As for Subsys' primary ingredient, the National Institute on Drug Abuse describes fentanyl as "a powerful synthetic opioid analgesic that is similar to morphine but is 50 to 100 times more potent." It is highly addictive and potentially deadly. (Prince fatally overdosed on fentanyl in April of last year.)
But when Insys' half-million-dollar donation opposing weed legalization in Arizona became public, a lesser-known Insys product soon attracted the spotlight. The company's latest drug, Syndros, was a synthetic version of THC–and it had just been approved to treat nausea and weight loss in cancer and AIDS patients by the Food and Drug Administration in July 2016. At the time of the donation in late August, Syndros was awaiting scheduling and approval by the Drug Enforcement Administration; it received that preliminary approval and a Schedule II classification (meaning it has recognized medical value but is still considered dangerous) from the DEA late last week. Marijuana, of course, remains a Schedule I substance–classified among the world's most deadly drugs.
That Marijuana remains a Schedule I drug is a crime all itself.
That Pharma companies are continually trying to gouge one last dollar from the final patient who can pay it is just awful.
In 27 years of criminal justice, this former prosecutor has not seen one, and I mean one, case where an individual gets "high" on marijuana and then harms someone. I can not say the same thing for just about any other drug even legal ones like, the biggest winner – alcohol. I am not alone in this opinion and I have asked this of many cops, judges, lawyers, advocates, experts etc. One time, another lawyer challenged this and made reference to a published case. I pointed out that in that case the person was on five other substances as well. The only time I have seen violence related to marijuana is dealers fighting over the stash and spoils. This is also not to say that addicts of any kind won't commit crime (often theft) to fuel the addiciton…but that's a different thing.
I can tell you I have seen (and represented people) who took a mixture of prescribed medications and then had a sudden, never before seen, dangerous and violent reaction that almost got them killed by police. In one case, I quickly looked up the medications in the Physicians Desk Reference and right there in black and white were documented strong contraindications with a violent reaction…with a pretty high percentage chance. This helped get him released with no bail and ultimately got the case dismissed (thank God).
I have jokingly (but half seriously) suggested that instead of one size fits all counseling for domestic violence lecture classes, we should have a "reverse drug court" where the violent try marijuana. (it would be the only drug court where you get in trouble for NOT having a positive UA).
As we all know the Pharma industry and its lobbying power is in the same mega-family and power-class of big energy, big-banks, and AIPAC. As we also know, like banks and Monsanto, the Pharma industry has REPEATEDLY been caught hiding the utter destructive, deceptive and and self-designed addictive qualities of its products. Imagine a company focused on human health modeling itself after Monsanto and Goldman Sachs. And you wonder.
I used to be anti legalization. But aside from the drug companies lobbying against legalizing pot, on financial merits alone, consider that we have made another Prohibition Era out of outlawing marijuana, completer with mobsters and crime cartels. The war on drugs, for marijuana at least, is over and we–the citizens–lost.
I always knew the whole "reefer madness"bit was overplayed, but my progressive news sources (and I look at new from all across the political spectrum) have educated me on just how much weed can help sick people. May I recommend you follow @ScottAdamsSays on twitter regarding marijuana legalization?