On October 22nd the Guardian exposed news that was already obvious to many. The pharmaceutical company Insys Therapeutics donated $500,000 in August to Arizonans for Responsible Drug Policy (ARDP); becoming the biggest donor in the campaign to defeat Arizona’s Proposition 205. Insys mentioned concerns for child safety, in making the donation. The Guardian points out the irony in Insys’ concern for child safety considering Insys manufactures Subsys which is a prescription painkiller derived from fentanyl. Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid that is up to 100 times more powerful than morphine.

The Phoenix New Times added that Insys is under investigation for marketing practices related to Subsys that allegedly resulted in patient deaths. Also, the Arizona Wine and Spirits Wholesale Association donated $10,000 to ARDP becoming a huge donor to the “No on 205” effort. The Beer Distributors PAC recently became the third-largest backer to the Campaign for a Safe and Healthy Massachusetts after donating $25,000 in opposition to the Question 4 legalization measure.

The makers of OxyContin and Vicodin; Purdue Pharma and Abbott Laboratories respectively, are some of the biggest contributors to the Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America (CADCA). Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA), one of the biggest opponents of legal marijuana, spent almost $19 million on lobbying in 2015. The Guardian writes that child safety is a legitimate concern as states legalize marijuana. Child emergency visits for marijuana intoxication in Colorado for children age 10 and under have increased from 1.2 per 100,000 to 2.3 per 100,000 since marijuana became legal in 2014.

On the other hand; according to government figures, accidental ingestion of pharmaceuticals sends about 318 per 100,000 children age 5 and under to the emergency room nationwide. According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the amount of kids visiting the hospital due to accidental ingestion of narcotic painkillers rose 225 percent from 2004 to 2011. Earlier this year we mentioned WikiLeaks revelation that the alcohol industry’s trade association was lobbying Congress to crack down on “marijuana-impaired driving” in states where it is now legal. It is safe to assume Big Pharma and alcohol are feeling intimidated by a harmless herb that anyone can grow in his or her backyard.

“We’ve definitely seen a more active opposition from the pharma industry,” Amanda Reiman of the Drug Policy Alliance told the Guardian. “Research conducted by myself and others shows that medical cannabis patients are substituting cannabis for pharmaceuticals at a very high rate and for alcohol at a pretty high rate as well.”

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