Is “Big Cannabis” Faking Research For The $$$?

Tonight, we will be looking into a Fox News expose on the actions of what they call big cannabis. This is a segment in which Laura Ingraham shines a light on business practices of the cannabis industry that she seems to deem as unethical.

Though this is likely the first time anyone at Fox News has questioned the ethics of any industry (or taken the human consequences of said ethics into consideration), so be it. Just as a broken clock has 2 chances to be correct in a 24-hour cycle, so too does an otherwise questionable news organization have the chance of unearthing something questionable.

If only that were the case, however. Instead, the focus is on institutions of higher education accepting gifts from the marijuana industry.
It is worth raising an eyebrow over, but not without considering that there were (until very recently) no other sources of financial aid for bankrolling cannabis research. And it has been this way for decades, which has left us with a deficit of study for a substance ingrained in social behaviour long enough to never be uncommon. A deficit made even more pronounced because the substance has been slowly evolving under the status of prohibition.

You do hear about this evolution of cannabis from Laura’s guest (the executive vice president of SMART Approaches to Marijuana. Because, of course). But you don’t hear it in that context. All you hear about is the hugely raised potency of modern-day cannabis and its connections to addiction, psychosis and other common fear-mongering tacts of his ilk. I expect nothing less from a network committed to a cohort that never left the 18th century.

Luke the VP later goes on to rant about the growing Cannabis industry, supposedly taking a page from big tobacco in the action they used (including targeting the product towards children). While I am unsure of how true this actually is, there is no doubt that the vaping industry certainly made headway toward getting a whole new generation addicted to nicotine. And as usual, it took regulators so long to catch up that the damage was already largely done. Vaping teenagers have now grown into vaping adults.

Luke also mentioned the millions of deaths associated with the tobacco industry during its heyday in inflicting death in the developed world (note that they never stopped! They just shipped focus to the underdeveloped world). Something that I find interesting given that the head of his employer was in a high-ranking position during the worst of the American opioid epidemic.
And what did he do after retiring from that position (which he held though 3 administrations)? Started a lobby group against the further legalization of marijuana.

Kevin Abraham Sabet (born February 20, 1979) is a former three-time White House Office of National Drug Control Policy advisor, having been the only person appointed to that office by both a Republican (Administration of George W. Bush) and Democrat (Obama Administration and Clinton Administration).

* * *

With Patrick J. Kennedy, Sabet co-founded Smart Approaches to Marijuana in Denver in January 2013 and has since emerged as a leading opponent of marijuana legalization in the United States.

If only as much attention were paid to the opioid peddlers as was (IS!) being paid to the cannabis distributors of the US, maybe more people would still be with us. Instead of being victims of corrupt Doctors, pharmacists, drug reps and companies and, ultimately, a very flawed legal framework.

And yet, once again, we’re wading through the propaganda of this organization that has no choice but to resort to scaremongering since Americans are increasingly embracing what their childish governments failed to do for decades.

Cannabis isn’t going anywhere. Cannabis should never HAVE gone anywhere, to begin with. But most importantly, anyone that claims that prohibition is the solution because “OH MY GOD, NO RESEARCH!!!” is the problem.

Indeed, I’m hardly breaking into new insight territory in this piece. But I feel little need. I’ve said plenty about these bad actors of cannabis policy, and their predictable displays of moral panic and misinformation are hardly worth my time.

Just know that a segment of the population is eating this up. And they vote.

As it turns out, it gets better. Long time reporter on the cannabis scene High Times also covered the Fox News interview but went even more in-depth into researching the background of SMART than I did. Credit to for their portion of the research.

In 2016, Vice explored in detail who exactly is bankrolling SAM’s agenda to fight cannabis legalization. Among the list of donors, they found a casino owner, a former U.S. ambassador, cops, prison guards, alcohol merchants, and a pharma company that sells fentanyl.

A $500,000 donation from Insys Therapeutics matched a donation from Arizonans for Responsible Drug Policy for the top donors. Insys is a pharmaceutical company known for selling the painkiller fentanyl in the form of a sublingual spray. 

A Washington Post article explored how Insys Therapeutics spent half a million trying to keep pot illegal and “just got DEA approval for synthetic marijuana.” Ironically, a federal jury in 2019 found Insys Therapeutics Founder John Kapoor guilty of running a widespread scheme to bribe doctors nationwide to speak about the company’s fentanyl spray, Subsys.

I know of Insys Therapeutics due to the episode of American Greed that covered it, but this video should suffice for the rest of you.

Though High Times deems this relationship ironic, it actively makes me angry. Not only the conflict of interest aspect but the fact that SMART seemingly overlooked the huge problem that Insys had a history of killing people. Yet here they are, pointing scared fingers at the budding Cannabis industry and crying foul at a herb.

While it is true that cannabis should NOT be sold as an entirely harmless substance, it is obvious that not all proponents of the cautionary cannabis legislation movement are in it for the sake of social health and welfare. Even if they started from that standpoint, they clearly have no issues with being a tool in an alternative agenda by accepting funds from industries in direct competition with future cannabis endeavours.

Given all of this, am I surprised that the vice president of SMART would go on national television and blatantly engage in hypocrisy?

Not really. Because those with no morals have no gauge of what is right, only what benefits the cause.

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