Legalization in Arizona: Foiled by Fentanyl

Legalization in Arizona: Foiled by Fentanyl
November 17, 2016 summertreead

The anti-cannabis legalization weapon: fentanyl

The largest opponent to legalization in Arizona: Fentanyl

-The Washington Post-

In the recent US Election, five states proposed legalization of cannabis on the ballot. California, Maine, Massachusetts, and Nevada all voted in favour of legalization. Only one state voted no: Arizona.

So what happened in Arizona? One of the largest single donations ever made to any anti-legalization campaign. Insys Therapeutics of Chandler, Arizona donated $500,000 to the opposing group: Arizonans for Responsible Drug Policy.

Insys is the manufacturer of controversial painkiller, Subsys fentanyl. As you may have heard in recent months, fentanyl is one of the strongest opiates on the market, 50 times stronger than heroin. Interestingly, Insys has also created a synthetic version of one of the active ingredients in cannabis, THC. This synthetic cannabis product, “Syndros” was approved by the FDA in July for treatment of AIDS and cancer patients’ symptoms. “Syndros” is currently awaiting scheduling by the DEA.

Supporters of legalization pointed out that accepting donations from people who profit off of fentanyl undermines everything cannabis prohibitionists have stated regarding their concerns about protecting public health.

Insys is currently facing a shareholder lawsuit and state and federal investigations over allegations regarding a kickback scheme for doctors to boost sales. According to FBI Assistant Director Diego Rodriguez,“This case should be something the medical industry and the general public should pay close attention to because it’s one of the reasons we’re experiencing an epidemic of overdoses and deaths in this country.”

In an emailed statement, Insys said it opposes the Arizona ballot measure, Proposition 205, because marijuana’s safety hasn’t been demonstrated through the federal regulatory process.

Insys “has joined a broad alliance of elected officials, health care organizations and business leaders in opposing Prop. 205 because it fails to protect the safety of Arizona’s citizens, and particularly its children,” the company said. “Insys firmly believes in the potential clinical benefits of cannabinoids. Like many in the healthcare community, we hope that patients will have the opportunity to benefit from these potential products once clinical trials demonstrate their safe and effective use.”

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