arizonans for responsible drug policy

U.S.: Big Pharma's Fight To Block Recreational Marijuana

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

According to television ads that began running last month in Arizona, marijuana legalization would be a disaster for the state. The advertisements feature lawmakers and teachers who paint a bleak future for Arizona’s children if voters approve Proposition 205, a measure that would allow people aged 21 and over to possess an ounce of cannabis and grow up to six plants for recreational use.

“Colorado schools were promised millions in new revenues” when the state approved recreational pot use, the voiceover says in one ad. Instead, schoolchildren were plagued by “marijuana edibles that look like candy”.

What's surprising is who is sponsoring the ads. In August, the pharmaceutical company Insys Therapeutics cited concerns for child safety when, with a $500,000 contribution, it became the largest donor to Arizona’s anti-legalization drive.

Although child safety is a legitimate concern, critics say the Insys contribution in Arizona is a ploy to protect market share. Insys manufactures Subsys, a prescription painkiller derived from fentanyl, the synthetic opioid that is up to 100 times more powerful than morphine.

Arizona: Prison Food Provider Donates To Keep Marijuana Illegal

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

The marijuana legalization initiative in Arizona has its foes, including drug companies, the Chamber of Commerce, and the alcohol industry. These groups have donated millions of dollars to the campaign to defeat Proposition 205, a ballot measure that would make pot legal for adults over 21. As opinion polls show a tight race in the state, another industry joins the fray: prison food providers.

Services Group of America, whose subsidiary Food Services of America sells meals to correctional facilities, devoted $80,000 to defeat the measure in late September.

Arizona is one of five states -- including California, Maine, Massachusetts and Nevada -- where marijuana legalization is on the ballot in November. With polls in Arizona showing an extremely tight race, money is pouring in from groups trying to tip the balance in the final weeks before Election Day.

The main anti-legalization group, Arizonans for Responsible Drug Policy, has raised nearly $2.7 million $900,000 of that in the last three weeks alone. Pro-legalization groups raised more than $3 million — including over $100,000 last week from the company that makes Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soap.

Arizona: Maker Of Deadly Fentanyl Donates Half A Million To Defeat Pot Legalization

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

Advocates of marijuana legalization have been saying for a while that pharmaceutical companies are one of the major supporters of pot prohibition. States that have legalized marijuana have seen a decrease in opioid abuse.

So it should come as no surprise to learn that fentanyl manufacturer Insys Therapeutics has donated $500,000 to foes of the Prop 205 marijuana legalization initiative.

Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid several dozen times more potent than heroin. It has been linked to many opioid overdose deaths across the country, especially when mixed with heroin. Marijuana has no reported overdose deaths, ever.

The only product Insys makes is Subsys, a sublingual fentanyl spray. In just the past month, two former company employees pleaded not guilty to federal charges related to an alleged kickback scheme to get doctors to prescribe Subsys. Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan filed a lawsuit against the company charging that Insys hawked the drug to doctors for off-label prescribing.

Insys' "desire for increased profits led it to disregard patients' health and push addictive opioids for non-FDA approved purposes," Madigan wrote.

Insys says on its website that it is working "to develop pharmaceutical cannabinoids."

Arizona: Legal-marijuana Advocates Urge Foes To Return Funding From Liquor Group

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

Marijuana legalization advocates in Arizona have asked a rival campaign to return $10,000 in funding from the local alcohol industry.

Carlos Alfonso, a spokesman for the Campaign to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol (CRMLA), told reporters Tuesday that Arizonans for Responsible Drug Policy (ARDP), an organization opposing marijuana legalization, should reject a contribution from a state liquor group.

Arizonans will vote on legalizing marijuana in the election this November. As of earlier this month, the CRMLA had raised nearly $1 million from local dispensaries to help finance its efforts, the Phoenix New Times reported.

After the New Times revealed that the Arizona Wine and Spirits Wholesale Association had donated $10,000 in April to the anti-marijuana group, advocates fighting to legalize marijuana for recreational use said the ARDP should return the money.

“They’re hypocrites because they are trying to use alcohol profits to try and punish those adults that choose a less harmful substance,” Mr. Alfonso told a local CBS News affiliate.

But anti-marijuana advocates say the source of the money should not matter.

Arizona: Marijuana Supporters Call On Opposition To Return $10K Alcohol Contribution

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The Campaign to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol (CRMLA), the committee backing an initiative to end marijuana prohibition in Arizona that is expected to appear on the November ballot, on Wednesday called on leaders of the committee opposing the measure to return a contribution from the alcohol industry.

According to a report published earlier this week by the Phoenix New Times, Arizonans for Responsible Drug Policy (ARDP) received a donation of $10,000 last month from the Arizona Wine and Spirits Association, a trade group representing various alcohol wholesalers.

The leaders of ARDP, Yavapai County Attorney Sheila Polk, and radio host Seth Leibsohn have repeatedly argued that marijuana needs to remain illegal because it is too dangerous to regulate for adult use. Yet, by every objective measure, marijuana is far less dangerous than alcohol. See http://marijuana-vs-alcohol.org for details.

“Using alcohol money to fund their campaign to maintain marijuana prohibition is grossly hypocritical,” said CRMLA Chairman J.P. Holyoak. “They want to continue punishing adults for using marijuana, but they have no problem accepting five-figure donations from purveyors of a far more harmful substance.

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