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Maker of the drug fueling current heroin epidemic fighting to keep marijuana illegal


(NaturalNews) Given marijuana's many healing properties and the impressive body of scientific evidence backing up its capabilities, it is not surprising to find that those who are fighting against legalizing it typically have some type of self-serving interest driving their actions.

This is evidenced by the actions of the pharmaceutical company Insys, as Arizona prepares to vote on the legalization of cannabis for recreational purposes. The firm shelled out $500,000 to the anti-legalization group Arizonans for Responsible Drug Policy to fight against Proposition 205.

Insys might not be a household name, but you've probably heard of the only product that they currently market: Subsys, a spray version of the potent opiate fentanyl. You've likely seen fentanyl in the headlines, as it has been singled out for contributing to the dangerous rise in heroin overdoses, with many dealers adding the drug to their heroin to boost its effects.

Fentanyl is actually 50 times stronger than heroin, and is responsible for deadly overdoses like the one that killed Prince earlier this year. In fact, more than 700 deaths between late 2013 and 2014 were blamed on the drug, with the DEA issuing a nationwide alert after the surge in deaths from overdoses involving fentanyl-laced heroin.

Arizonans for Responsible Drug Policy, which now finds itself half a million dollars richer thanks to the Insys donation, has gone so far as to claim that the states that have already legalized cannabis have seen "disastrous repercussions for their youth, workplaces and communities."

The facts say otherwise, however. In Colorado for example, business, tax revenues and tourism have all enjoyed spikes thanks to legalization, while the state is also noting lower teen cannabis consumption rates than the national average. Moreover, a Johns Hopkins study found that the states that passed medical marijuana laws were reporting lower rates of opiate overdoses. While most people would consider this good news, it's simply bad for business for Insys.

Insys does not appear to be too worried about PR problems. Last month, the Illinois Attorney General filed a lawsuit against the firm, accusing them of promoting Subsys to physicians for off-label uses. In the suit, AG Lisa Madigan said that Insys's "desire for increased profits led it to disregard patients' health and push addictive opioids for non-FDA approved purposes." Meanwhile, two of its employees have been charged for their roles in a kickback scheme involving doctors.

'Responsible drug policy?'

It seems more than a bit hypocritical for a campaign group with the term "responsible drug policy" in its name to accept funding that comes from the profits of opioid sales, some of which were possibly obtained illegally.

The company's vested interest in keeping marijuana illegal actually goes much further than protecting its dangerous Subsys product, however. The firm once sold a synthetic cannabis product, and they have already earned FDA approval for a similar product, which they plan to launch soon. The existence of these products validates marijuana's incredible painkilling properties, while at the same time illustrating exactly why they are so desperate to keep marijuana illegal wherever they can: to eliminate the competition. Quite simply, the legalization of cannabis threatens their profits.

Proposition 205 vote expected to be close

Arizona citizens are set to vote this November on Proposition 205. If passed, this would make the possession of small amounts of marijuana legal, and regulate the sale of both the plant and its products for recreational purposes. Of course, products like hemp protein powder are already legal throughout the nation as they do not contain THC.

The use of marijuana for medical purposes is already legal in Arizona and 24 other states, but only four states so far, along with the District of Columbia, also allow recreational use. The passage of the medical marijuana law in Arizona was very close, with just 4,000 votes deciding the matter, and the Proposition 205 vote is expected to be close as well. It's no wonder, then, that Big Pharma is getting nervous.

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