Pharma firm fights AZ rec legalization measure

A publicly traded pharmaceutical firm in Arizona that is developing both opiate and cannabis-based medicines is also the largest contributor to opponents of the campaign to legalize recreational marijuana in the state.

Insys Therapeutics, based in Chandler, donated $500,000 to Arizonans for Responsible Drug Policy, the Arizona Capital Times reported. The second largest donation to the anti-legalization group was $110,000 from the Arizona Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

Insys’ only currently available product is an opiate spray to treat pain for cancer patients

The company also has several drugs going through Food and Drug Administration trials, including Cannabidiol, which would be used to treat pediatric epilepsy.

Insys said in a statement it has nothing against cannabinoids as long as they are used properly. “We believe that all available medicines should meet the clinical standards set by the FDA,” the statement said, according to the Arizona Capital Times.

The head of Arizona’s legalization effort, J.P. Holyoak, said Insys is opposing recreational marijuana legalization because it would cut into the company’s profits.

“They want to be able to push their far more addictive, far more harmful and far more dangerous opioid drugs,” Holyoak said.