Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand out of New York recently joined the growing list of cosponsors on the Marijuana Justice Act, which Sen. Cory Booker introduced last year. Sen. Gillibrand seems to be focusing her efforts on creating a vanguard against the pharmaceutical industry which she and many others believe are obstructing efforts to legalize cannabis nationwide.
The pharmaceutical industry has been accused of contributing to the opioid epidemic in the United States and caring for nothing other than making money. John Kapoor of Insys Therapeutics, and also a large share holder of Akron, was arrested last year for bribing doctors to prescribe Fentanyl, a highly addictive opiate based mouth spray.
“To them it’s competition for chronic pain, and that’s outrageous because we don’t have the crisis in people who take marijuana for chronic pain having overdose issues,” Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand of New York said. “It’s not the same thing. It’s not as highly addictive as opioids are.”
Gillibrand, in an appearance on Good Day New York on Friday morning, was responding to a question about whether marijuana is a “gateway drug” that leads people to try more dangerous substances.
“I don’t see it as a gateway to opioids,” she said. “What I see is the opioid industry and the drug companies that manufacture it, some of them in particular, are just trying to sell more drugs that addict patients and addict people across this country.”
Legalization advocates have long speculated that “Big Pharma” is working behind the scenes to maintain cannabis prohibition. And in 2016, Insys Therapeutics, which makes products containing fentanyl and other opioids, as well as a synthetic version of the cannabinoid THC, donated half a million dollars to help defeat a marijuana legalization measure that appeared on Arizona’s ballot that year.
Sen. Gillibrand is also a cosponsor of Orrin Hatch’s MEDS Act, but there are some significant differences between The Marijuana Justice Act and the MEDS Act. One of the big differences is that the MEDS Act would make marijuana federally controlled and turn over the medical marijuana industry to the pharmaceutical industry. Do you think it is a little funny that Sen. Gillibrand has cosponsored both bills?