The Anti-Marijuana Lobby Is Enlisting Scientific Mercenaries

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Source: Thinkstock

Source: Thinkstock

It’s an age-old play that has been used in several different industries over the past several decades, and now marijuana is the new target. One incredibly popular method for garnering support against a cause is to attack the science and facts supporting it, even if it is a virtual certainty that you’d be fighting a losing battle.

According to a new report from Vice, that’s precisely what’s happening to the cannabis industry, despite the fact that marijuana has only been legalized in two states for recreational use and a handful of others for medicinal purposes. It’s been well-known for a while that there are plenty of groups with vested interests in keeping marijuana illegal, including prison guard unions, law enforcement agents and officials, private prison companies, and more. But the group Vice focuses on is the painkiller industry.

One would think at first that pharmaceutical companies would be ecstatic about marijuana prohibition finally coming to an end, as it could possibly supply them with a relatively cheap and easy resource to study and apply to their products. But as with any entrenched special interest group, they instead see it as a threat to profits.

So instead of embracing the end of prohibition, many companies have decided to pay academics to develop research that instead leads to the conclusion that marijuana is a health hazard and should remain outlawed. Vice cites the claims of Dr. Herbert Kleber of Columbia University, who has published work and has been quoted as saying that marijuana is a ‘gateway drug’, is addictive and will hurt society as a whole.

Of course, he’s also a paid consultant to several large pharmaceutical companies that manufacture painkillers, which could lose their appeal if marijuana is adopted en masse in coming years.

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