Paid Experts are the Next Threat to Marijuana Legalization
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. It’s an old tactic that has been used in several different industries over the past several decades, and now marijuana is the new target.
According to an article from 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 several groups with vested interests in keeping marijuana prohibition intact, including prison guard unions, law enforcement agents and officials, private prison companies, and more. But the group Vice focuses on is the painkiller industry.
At first thought, you might suspect 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 in their products. But as with any entrenched special interest group, they instead see it as a threat to profits.
Thus, 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.
While those are genuine concerns of many, Kleber is 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.