Anti-Pot Academics on the Payroll of Big Pharma


Photo by Sage Ross, CC by-sa

It’s an almost cliched stoner adage that Big Pharma is actively working to keep marijuana illegal so they can keep you on their pills. We’ve all had the at least one encounter with a pro-pot zealot who will delve deep into this subject at the drop of a hat.
But the thing is: it’s all true. Take Dr. Herbert Kleber, a leading anti-pot academic from Columbia University who has fought hard against marijuana legalization for years – all while on the payroll of Purdue Pharma, which makes OxyContin, as well as several other high-profile painkiller manufacturers. He’s not alone, either.

Vice News reports that some of the leading academics against marijuana legalization happen to also get paychecks from leading pain-killer manufacturing pharmaceutical companies. Surprised? Sadly, you shouldn’t be. It’s pretty obvious that Big Pharma doesn’t want a plant that anyone can grow for medical purposes legalized.
Kleber isn’t alone. His anti-pot, pro-opiod pals paid by big pharma include Harbard’s Dr. Eden Evins, who sits on the board of anti-pot group Project SAM, and Dr. Mark Kraus, board member for the American Society of Addiction Medicine. They’ll all say pot is a horrible, addictive drug but don’t talk about how the drugs they get paid to push kill thousands each year and create addicts daily.
Not surprisingly, Vice went to all of them for comment and got blanked each time.
According to the CDC, drug overdose deaths in this country have tripled since 1990. Deaths for overdose of marijuana in that time, notably, remained at zero. Three-quarters of all prescription drug overdoses are with painkillers. And what does this country do? We have people like the good doctors above lobbying to make them more accessible. Since 1999 the sale of strong painkillers has gone up 300 percent and in 2008 they killed more people than cocaine and heroin combined. About 500,000 people go to the emergency room every year because of painkillers.
Meanwhile, people like Dr. Evins are telling people that marijuana clinics aren’t misleading to the public and that real, safe medicine comes only from a pharmacy.
“When people can go to a ‘clinic’ or ‘cafe’ and buy pot, that creates the perception that it’s safe,” Evins told the New York Times in 2013. “Before we unleash the powers of the marketplace to woo people to use this addictive substance, we need to better understand who is at risk … Once moneyed interests are involved, this trend will be difficult to reverse.”
Ironically, Evins and her pill-peddling doctor cohorts couldn’t be more correct.