The Anti-Pot Lobby's Big Bankroll: The Real Reason Pot Is Still IllegalSubmitted by Michael Nystrom on Thu, 07/31/2014 - 11:22
Snip from a long article in The Nation:
People in the United States, a country in which painkillers are routinely overprescribed, now consume more than 84 percent of the entire worldwide supply of oxycodone and almost 100 percent of hydrocodone opioids. In Kentucky, to take just one example, about one in fourteen people is misusing prescription painkillers, and nearly 1,000 Kentucky residents are dying every year.
So it’s more than a little odd that [the Community Anti-Drug Coalition of America] CADCA and the other groups leading the fight against relaxing marijuana laws, including the Partnership for Drug-Free Kids (formerly the Partnership for a Drug-Free America), derive a significant portion of their budget from opioid manufacturers and other pharmaceutical companies. According to critics, this funding has shaped the organization’s policy goals: CADCA takes a softer approach toward prescription-drug abuse, limiting its advocacy to a call for more educational programs, and has failed to join the efforts to change prescription guidelines in order to curb abuse. In contrast, CADCA and the Partnership for Drug-Free Kids have adopted a hard-line approach to marijuana, opposing even limited legalization and supporting increased police powers.
A close look at the broader political coalition lobbying against marijuana-law reform reveals many such conflicts of interest. In fact, the CADCA event was attended by representatives of a familiar confederation of anti-pot interests, many of whom have a financial stake in the status quo, including law enforcement agencies, pharmaceutical firms, and nonprofits funded by federal drug-prevention grants.
The anti-pot lobby’s efforts run counter to a nationwide tide of liberalization when it comes to marijuana law. In 2012, voters legalized pot in Colorado and Washington State; this year, voters in Alaska appear poised to do likewise. Since 1996, twenty-two states and the District of Columbia have legalized medical marijuana or effectively decriminalized it, and a contentious ballot initiative in Florida may result in the South’s first medical marijuana law. Meanwhile, legislatures across the country are debating a variety of bills that would continue to ease marijuana restrictions or penalties. On the federal level, a bipartisan coalition of lawmakers has challenged the Drug Enforcement Administration in testy hearings, and many have called for removing marijuana as a Schedule I drug under the Controlled Substances Act, which puts it in the same class as heroin and LSD.
The opponents of marijuana-law reform argue that such measures pose significant dangers, from increased crime and juvenile delinquency to addiction and death. But legalization’s biggest threat is to the bottom line of these same special interests, which reap significant monetary advantages from pot prohibition that are rarely acknowledged in the public debate.
Read the full article: