With Big Pharma Under the Legal Microscope, Cannabis Stigma Needs to End

With recreational programs rapidly expanding in the United States and abroad, it should be a shock that cannabis professionals are still equated with “drug pushers.”

Of course, the people who draw these comparisons are often the same people who oppose the expanded access of lab-tested cannabis products. “We need to do more research to uncover the potential hidden dangers that cannabis surely possesses!” they cry—while not supporting anything in the way of research funding, or changes to law that might allow researchers to use something other than the University of Mississippi ultra-schwag that federally funded researchers are required to.

The goal of the recreational cannabis industry is to develop and grow markets for the legal sale of a wide range of cannabis (and hemp) products. While many in the industry have goals of wellness and other non-economic benefits, sales are the main driver, as they are in any capitalistic undertaking. As cannabis becomes increasingly commodified, the “pusher” moniker seems outdated.

Which brings me to the, ahem, fully legal pharmaceutical industry.

Recent news coverage of one of the largest true drug pushers in the world gives us rare and sickening insight into how their product is promoted and sold. The pushers in question are Purdue Pharma, and their product is Oxycontin—a drug that’s nationally available, with access to exposure, promotion, and capital that cannabis is barred from.

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