Source: / 10-5-14

An August 2014 article published on exposed leading anti-marijuana academics and experts as having received payment from “painkiller drug companies” to serve as advisers on various panels. The article delves into the multi-billion dollar industry and how legalized marijuana poses a threat to their revenues. Whether or not marijuana has harmful side-effects is often a heated and ongoing debate. (1)
Most people are aware of families who uprooted their households to move to Colorado as soon as the state legalized marijuana in 2012, along with one other state in the US – Washington. For many families with members who qualify for medicinal use of marijuana, the news was a godsend. These people uprooted their families and made the move. (2)

The use of marijuana for pain relief is the driving force of the latest tactics used by pain relief drug manufacturers as a way to prevent further loss of revenue, according to Lee Fang’s expose on Vice. (3)

On September 11, 2014, the Washington Post reported that the revenue for recreational marijuana had surpassed medical marijuana sales in Colorado. Tourism in Colorado is also on the rise in what’s been coined as marijuana tourism. Some of the people relocating aren’t moving to Colorado because of medical reasons. They simply want to enjoy the freedom to use marijuana without fear of legal ramifications. (4)

In Colorado, medicinal marijuana is taxed at a lower rate than recreational marijuana. When Colorado and the state of Washington made recreational use of marijuana legal, the playing field changed, not just for recreational users, but especially for those seeking weed as a pain reliever.

It’s easy to understand how the multi-billion dollar pain relief companies view the success of the two states’ legalization of recreational marijuana as a threat. That threat will only grow bigger if other states follow suit. California and Oregon attempted to pass a similar marijuana bill, but both were voted down by a very slim margin. Many believe that next time around, the bill will pass. (5)

Perhaps, it’s just a matter of time before more and more states recognize the revenue benefits of legalizing marijuana. It can be compared to the same way government recognized the revenue value in legalizing the selling of alcohol after Prohibition.

medical-marijuanaThe Vice expose cites criticism of the pain relief industry from medical experts claiming that opioid painkillers are the cause of 16,000 deaths annually. And, that the figure represents more than heroin and cocaine related deaths combined.

The kicker is that most experts believe marijuana is a safer alternative to opioid painkillers since there have never been any reported deaths from overdosing on marijuana.

During its investigation, Vice discovered that some of the academia and researchers who are against the legalization of marijuana ware “on the payroll of leading pharmaceutical firms with products that could be easily replaced by using marijuana”.

This is especially disturbing when Vice alleged that these experts don’t reveal their associations with the pharmaceutical companies whenever they give expert opinions about the use of marijuana being harmful or their various anti-marijuana advocacies.

Dr. Herbert Kleber of Columbia University and Dr. A. Eden Evins, an associate professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School, are both named in the article as having been paid consultants to Big Pharma painkiller manufacturers. The article details the various advisory panels each has served on and their anti-marijuana efforts.

Another expert, Dr. Mark L. Kraus is mentioned prominently in the article and for his efforts to prevent the 2012 medical marijuana law in Connecticut. Vice cites financial disclosures that reveal Kraus served on advisory panels for pharmaceutical companies.
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