Go Figure: Who’s Behind Efforts To Block Pot Legalization In Arizona? The Maker Of An Addictive Prescription Painkiller, Of Course

A “concerned citizen” put up half a million dollars to block the legalization of recreational marijuana in Arizona, and you will never guess who it was. And if you’re thinking, perhaps it’s someone who profits from highly-addictive, legal, prescription painkillers, you’d be right.

As Mirage News reports, the makers of Subsys, a sub-lingual (that is, administered under the tongue) Fentanyl spray used to treat migraines, are quite concerned about the children and families of Arizona having access to the Devil’s Lettuce, despite the fact that the highly addictive opioid narcotic they peddle legally is 50 times more potent than heroin. So concerned are they about the children of Arizona having access to a plant that has been responsible for zero deaths in recorded human history, they donated $500,000 to Arizonans for Responsible Drug Policy, an anti-legalization group.

Specifically, Arizonans for Responsible Drug Policy is opposed to Proposition 205, a measure that would essentially legalize recreational marijuana in Arizona. Insys donated the money because they believe that 205 “fails to protect the safety of Arizona’s citizens, and particularly its children,” a claim that JD Holyoak, a Prop 205 supporter, isn’t buying.

“We hope that every Arizonan understands that Arizonans for Responsible Drug Policy is now a complete misnomer. Their entire campaign is tainted by this money. Any time an ad airs against Proposition 205, the voters should know that it was paid for by highly suspect Big Pharma actors.”

If you are shocked that a peddler of legal prescription drugs would stand in the way of efforts to legalize marijuana, be it recreational or medical, look no further than Florida. There, the heiress of the family that owns the grocery store chain Publix, one Ms. Carol Jenkins Barnett, donated $800,000 to fight medical marijuana legalization in the Sunshine State.

And in an unrelated matter that we pinky-swear has absolutely nothing at all to do with Barnett’s opposition to medical marijuana coming to Florida, Publix is also one of the largest pharmacies in the South. But we’re sure Barnett is, like the Insys donors, just concerned about Florida’s children.

In fact, if you think opposition to marijuana legalization comes from uptight church ladies, socially conservative do-gooders, and people genuinely concerned with the welfare of children, I have some oceanfront property in Iowa I’d like to talk to you about. If you want to see who’s really behind anti-marijuana legalization efforts, just ask yourself, “Who stands to lose the most if pot is legalized.” The answer is, in no particular order: the pharmaceutical industry, police unions, and prison guards’ unions.

Back in Arizona, guess who is the second-biggest donor to the group trying to kill recreational marijuana in Arizona? The answer, if you haven’t already guessed it, is the Arizona Sheriff’s Association.

“Our state is fortunate enough to have seen the outcome of legalized recreational marijuana in neighboring states… We have seen various studies on the devastating impacts related to a legal marijuana on the youth in those states, and the catastrophic impacts on service delivery in emergency rooms.”

A couple of points. First of all, the jury is still out on the effects legal marijuana has on youth in states where it is legal since the concept is so new. But early indications out of Colorado seem to be the exact opposite of what the Arizona Sheriff’s Association seems so concerned about. As the Denver Post reports, teen marijuana use in Colorado has not increased since legalization.

As to the emergency-room visits: In large part, the problem stems from users not fully understanding the way marijuana works, particularly when it comes to edibles – that is, food infused with marijuana derivatives. Yes, there has been an increase in emergency-room visits due to marijuana, according to NBC News, and in almost all cases it’s because the user consumed too much and had a paranoid, psychiatric reaction. The good news is that these reactions aren’t fatal, and the effects usually subside after a few hours. And there’s nothing that an emergency room can do about it anyway, and people would be just as well off just sleeping it off at home. The obvious solution to this problem is to educate users on taking it easy, not cracking down harder on pot.

Needless to say, histrionic platitudes urging voters to “Think of the children!” are a thinly-veiled attempt to obscure the real reason behind opposition to pot legalization: pharmaceutical peddlers want to keep their profits, and cops and prison guards want to keep their jobs – jobs that will remain secure as long as marijuana remains illegal.

[Image via Maxim Apryatin/Shutterstock]

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