An Arizona based company just made the largest contribution ever by a pharmaceutical company in opposition to a cannabis legalization initiative.
On August 31, Insys Therapeutics contributed $500,000 to Arizonans for Responsible Drug Policy (ARDP). The group opposes Prop 205, which would legalize cannabis for non-medical use in the state, if voters pass the measure this November. Prop 205 is backed by the Marijuana Policy Project, which is also overseeing legalization efforts this year in Maine, Massachusetts, and Nevada (the group also oversaw the campaigns in Colorado in 2012 and in Alaska in 2014).
The only product Insys currently has on the market is a sublingual fentanyl spray for opioid-based pain management. Insys also received FDA approval in July 2016 for Syndros, a synthetic-THC-based drug, and is working on a CBD-based drug, as well.
The campaign behind Prop 205 suggests Insys is looking to “line their own pockets” by preventing competition with their own pharmaceutical products. The Phoenix New Times received a statement from Insys that said that Prop 205 didn’t protect Arizona citizens, and that the company believes all available medicines should be FDA approved. The company, though, did not make any contributions to defeat medical cannabis, which voters passed in 2010 (no whole plant medical cannabis is FDA approved).
Other contributions to ARDP include (these are all contributions greater than $25,000, starting with the largest contributions):
Arizona Chamber of Commerce & Industry, $120,000. The chamber “exists to represent the interests of commerce and industry” with the state legislature, according to the chamber’s website.
Randy Kendrick, $100,000. Kendrick’s husband Ken is an owner of Arizona’s baseball team, the Diamondbacks.
T. Denny Sanford, $100,000. CEO of United National Corp (banking).
Empire Southwest LLC, $50,000. One of the largest Caterpillar dealers in the world (construction and mining equipment).
Pima Medical Institute, $40,000. A for-profit college for those who want a career in health care, with 16 campuses across the country.
U-Haul, $25,000. Corporate headquarters.
Microchip Technology Incorporated, $25,000. Creators of “microcontrollers and analog semiconductors.”
Robson Communities Inc, $25,000. Luxury retirement communities throughout Arizona.
Larry Clemmensen, $25,000. President of The Capital Group Companies Inc., a global private equity fund.
Dan L. Grubb, $25,000. Recognized major automotive dealer in Arizona.
Photo credit: Wing-Chi Poon