Know Your Enemies: The Opponents Of Legalization
2 min

Know Your Enemies: The Opponents Of Legalization

2 min

Cannabis isn’t illegal because it is dangerous. It is illegal because it hurts someone’s bottom-line.

The Community Anti-Drug Coalition of America (CADCA) is a roof organization that unites over 5’000 anti-drug coalitions and is one of the largest legalization opponents in the US. The organization holds an annual meeting, this year near Washington D.C. The primary and openly stated agenda of the speakers and convention is to fight cannabis reform at all cost. The irony? The largest sponsor of the event is Purdue Pharma, the manufacturer of the drug OxyContin - a highly addictive opiate that yearly kills thousands of people. „Conflict of interest“?

But this is by far not an isolated instance of sky-high hypocrisy, in fact, it’s the name of the game. This is taken from an investigative piece of The Nation:

„The Nation obtained a confidential financial disclosure from the Partnership for Drug-Free Kids showing that the group’s largest donors include Purdue Pharma, the manufacturer of OxyContin, and Abbott Laboratories, maker of the opioid Vicodin. CADCA also counts Purdue Pharma as a major supporter, as well as Alkermes, the maker of a powerful and extremely controversial new painkiller called Zohydrol. The drug, which was released to the public in March, has sparked a nationwide protest, since Zohydrol is reportedly ten times stronger than OxyContin. Janssen Pharmaceutical, a Johnson & Johnson subsidiary that produces the painkiller Nucynta, and Pfizer, which manufactures several opioid products, are also CADCA sponsors.“

A historical animosity

There were many reasons why cannabis became illegal in the first place. Racism was one, maintaing social order another. But the central reasons were the same as now - money and power: Hemp fibre was becoming a major threat to the emerging industrial conglomerates based on oil and synthetic fibre. Hemp is uniquely versatile and cheap to produce; two factors that directly threatened the business model of cooperations such as DuPont. But even more important was hemp as an ecological and renewable source of fuel. Hemp fuel threatened the very existence of the oil industry.

But cannabis was standing early on in the way of another highly lucrative branch: The pharmaceutical industry. Today, it is little known that cannabis was abundantly available in every pharmacy before its prohibition. Extracts and tinctures were used to treat all sorts of things, from skin problems to migraine. But it was exactly this potent medicinal power that made cannabis the main target of one of the most powerful industries. Your synthetic pills simply don’t sell very well if you have a cheaper, safer and better natural alternative right next to it. In a nutshell, this is why cannabis is illegal.

In what can be considered a mafia-style approach, those industries are simply acting to protect their bottom-line, regardless of the social and ecological damage they cause. The recent legalization efforts around the world are slowly working to breaking the influence of these forces, but maybe the circumstances call for a revolution.

Luke Sumpter
Luke Sumpter
With a BSc (Hons) degree in Clinical Health Sciences and a passion for growing plants, Luke Sumpter has worked as a professional journalist and writer at the intersection of cannabis and science for the past 7 years.
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