Article by Diane Goldstein, The Influence via Raw Story
This year the pharmaceutical, alcohol and prison food industries have all weighed in to oppose marijuana legalization initiatives across the country. This comes as little surprise: These industries all have financial interests in keeping marijuana illegal. By funding anti-legalization efforts, they’re simply admitting it.
What does surprise me is that the public is still largely unaware of how government resources—at federal, state and local levels—are used in the same fashion, in a blatant conflict of interests.
The ways in which the criminal justice lobby uses its power to undermine drug policy reform are well-established, but also complex and sometimes hard to untangle. However, given recent donations by law enforcement unions and associations to campaigns against marijuana legalization in California, where I live, and across the country, I believe it’s important to clarify the unethical way in which taxpayer-funded resources are used in defiance of the proper role of government.
Opponents of marijuana legalization always point to what they term “Big Marijuana’’—and how the new industry uses lobbyists and cash to promote legislation that would be in its own interests. Yet such funding involves accountable, transparent donations with private money.
In contrast, opponents of legalization—including government-funded HIDTA programs, community drug-free organizations, and anti-marijuana nonprofits like SAM—frequently fail to disclose their own funding and incestuous financial connections.