Article by Eric Boehm, Reason
Legal marijuana will poison children and cause more Arizonans to die in car crashes, according to scary television and online ads running across the state in advance of Election Day.
“Edibles that look like candy, marketed to kids,” warns one ad, with a voiceover meant to sound like a concerned mother. Other spots feature school principals and public officials from Colorado explaining why they believe legal weed has been a bad deal for their state. “Don’t repeat our terrible mistake,” says Wellington Webb, a former mayor of Denver.
The ads were created by Arizonans For Responsible Drug Policy, a group that’s encouraging voters to reject Arizona’s Proposition 205, which would allow people aged 21 and older to possess up to an ounce of marijuana and grow up to six plants in their own homes. Arizona is one of four states—along with California, Massachusetts, Maine and Nevada—that could vote to legalize recreational weed on November 8.
Despite the voices and faces in the ads, though, Arizonans For Responsible Drug Policy and similar groups urging “no” votes on marijuana legalization in other states are not funded by concerned parents and public officials. In large part, these groups are funded by pharmaceutical companies trying to protect their share of the market for painkilling drugs—and in Arizona, the biggest donor to the “No On 205” campaign is a company that’s been investigated for its role in overdose deaths.
That company, Arizona-based Insys Therapeutics Inc., is best known for manufacturing a pain relief spray that contains fentanyl, an opioid that’s been under heightened scrutiny for its role in several overdose deaths, including the high-profile death of Prince in April. As Reason previously covered, Insys Therapeutics in August made a $500,000 contribution to Arizonans For Responsible Drug Policy, the largest donation the group has received from a single source.