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Opioid Manufacturer That Fought Marijuana Legalization Wants to be a Bulk Producer of Cannabinoids


Regular readers of The Marijuana Times are probably familiar with the name Insys Therapeutics. The opioid maker came to prominence in the cannabis community initially because of their $500,000 donation to a group fighting a marijuana legalization ballot measure in Arizona in 2016 (the measure eventually went down in defeat). It soon became clear that Insys was fighting legalization because they had plans to release their own synthetic spray derived from cannabinoids.

About a year ago, Insys got approval from the Drug Enforcement Administration for their new synthetic THC drug – Syndros – to be placed on Schedule II of the federal Controlled Substances Act, alongside drugs like cocaine, fentanyl (which Insys makes) and morphine; drugs with a high potential for abuse, yet still used for medical purposes. Natural cannabis resides in Schedule I, meaning the U.S. Government pretends it has a high potential for abuse and no medical uses.

While all of this has been going on, Insys has been slammed by scandal, including fraud charges brought by the Attorney General of Arizona.

Now Insys’ manufacturing arm has applied for permission to be a bulk manufacturer of a controlled substance – that substance being THC – which will then be used in the making of synthetic medications (click the link if you would like to leave a comment about this application before 5-29-18).

To be clear, I have no problem with pharmaceutical companies using cannabis to make medications. I’m all for research and the creation of as many cannabis-based products as people need and the market will bear. My problem with this is two-fold and stems from reasons mentioned above.

  1. Insys went out of their way to fight legalization in Arizona. Of course, we all make mistakes, and Insys could now rectify theirs by donating money to groups who fight for legalization, but I won’t hold my breath waiting for that to happen.
  2. Cannabis being a Schedule I Controlled Substance means that just about every person in the United States who possesses, sells and grows cannabis is considered a criminal by the federal government and is still performing illegal actions in many states, even if they do it for medical purposes. Insys can make a spray and get approval from the DEA, but an 80 year-old woman smoking a joint in her own home to help with her arthritis is doing something wrong in the eyes of the federal government, no matter what state she lives in.

Government is supposed to be an arbiter of disputes and a protector of rights, but when it comes to cannabis, they are picking winners and losers in the marketplace and persecuting people who have not infringed on the rights of anyone else.