Mon, Jan. 27

Letter: Marijuana battle is about who stands to profit from legalization


Two views on Prop 205 were expressed here recently. Mr. Dowling pointed out the dastardly dishonesty of the opposition. Mr. Bullock argued the irrelevance of truth when it comes to mandating morality.

But the real battle isn’t between truth and morals, it’s about who profits from the legal status of a relatively benign weed demonized into a multi-$billion industry for criminal cartels, law enforcement, prison guard unions, and pharmaceutical providers.

The second largest donor to the “No on Prop 205” campaign is Insys Therapeutics. Insys donated $500,000 and spent another $90,000 lobbying politicians to support their cause.

And just what is their cause, really?

Insys manufactures Subsys fentanyl, a synthetic opiate claimed to be 50 times stronger than heroin. Insys has also developed Syndros synthetic tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), approved by the FDA for AIDS and Cancer patients.

Insys has been under investigation for a sales scheme that paid health professionals to prescribe Subsys for Medicare patients. At least one Insys sales rep has plead guilty to paying kickbacks and a nurse has plead guilty to accepting them.

According to court documents, just this one case cost Medicare an estimated $1.3 million in unwarranted prescriptions. Other Insys salespersons have been arrested and charged. Meanwhile, at least some prescribed fentanyl is reaching the street, to be mixed with heroin to give more bang from less quantity.

Thousands of drug users -- including the singer Prince -- have died from fentanyl overdoses.

One argument against Proposition 205 is that it is an imperfect path to cannabis legalization, and that is certainly true.

It would have been far better for everyone if government control freaks of the 1930s had not propagandized a mildly intoxicating plant into a scourge of civilized society.

David Perrell


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