This election day five more states will vote on legislation regarding the legalization of Marijuana for recreational use. Arizona, California, Maine, Massachusetts and Nevada are all on the ballot for being legalized on November 8th. There is a solid chance that these five states will join the likes of Alaska, Colorado, Oregon and Washington as the select few to legalize marijuana for recreational uses. Support for legalizing the drug is growing and the latest gallup poll indicates that 60% of americans support legalizing the drug, the highest its ever been. However, the legalization movement isn’t being met without resistance. The powerful painkiller Fentanyl is lobbying to make sure marijuana does not become legalized in Arizona.
Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid and prescription narcotic prescribed mainly to patients suffering from severe pain. It is highly addictive, deadlier than heroin and killed the man who wrote Purple Rain. The Center for Disease Control (CDC) reported that in 2014 there were at least 28,000 overdoses in 2014, up 79% from the year before. Earlier this year Attorney General Lisa Madigan filed a lawsuit against fentanyl stating”This drug company’s desire for increased profits led it to disregard patients’ health and push addictive opioids for non-FDA approved purposes,”.
The bill on the ballot this election day is called Arizona Marijuana Legalization Initiative, or Proposition 205. If passed, the bill would allow Arizona citizens over the age of 21 to recreationally use and grow marijuana up to six plants. Insys Therapeutics, the pharmaceutical company that manufactures fentanyl, gave $500,000 to Arizonans for Responsible Drug Policy, an organization aiming to prevent Propositon 205 from being implemented. In a statement, Insys explained its opposition to Proposition 205 stating “it fails to protect the safety of Arizona’s citizens, particularly its children.”
Insys’ claim is quite ironic considering it is twice as potent as heroin and the number of overdoses linked to fentanyl are rapidly increasing. Meanwhile, legalizing marijuana in has had positive outcomes in states like Colorado. Legal marijuana in Colorado has created more tax revenue than alcohol and is a billion dollar industry. It is helping the states homeless problem and has benefitted education. The publics support for legalizing marijuana for recreational use is overwhelming and is only growing.
Perhaps Insys Therapeutics motives for fighting Prop 205 have more to do with business than public health. Considering the pharmaceutical firm has its own synthetic marijuana compound, it is in its best interest to keep pot illegal. Or their opposition could stem from the fact that marijuana is considered to be the answer to stopping opiate abuse. Not only is it deterring opiate abuse, is proving to be more effective and a safer alternative to opiates. So much so that this study done by the Drug and Alcohol Review revealed that 80% of patients preferred marijuana for treating their pain. People are not buying Insys Therapeutics bullshit explanation for their lobbying efforts to prevent marijuana from being legalized in Arizona. The support, medical benefits and positive effects on communities where pot is legal is too vast for the makers of Fentanyl to deceive the public.