Behind the battle for marijuana — both medical and recreational — are deep-pocketed entities who have a stake in the outcome. So goes the nature of policy creation in the United States.
While that’s a whole other subject, those who follow and have an opinion on the legalization discussion should be aware of who is responsible for providing the megaphones, and thus, who influences what they’re saying.
One of the loudest megaphones in the marijuana debate is the Partnership for Drug-Free Kids, formerly known as Partnership at Drugfree.org, formerly known as Partnership for a Drug-Free America. The PDFK is perhaps best known for its long-running ad campaign “This is Your Brain on Drugs,” featuring young people cooking eggs and smashing things. While most kids found the message inaccurate, the advertising and anti-drug communities lauded the campaign as one of the most effective PSAs in history.
Like any worthwhile non-profit, the PDFK is funded by special interest groups, which means corporations. By law, the organization must make public its donor list. At the top tier, donations of $250,000 or more, there are eight benefactors.
Here are six of them:
- AbbVie: A biotechnology company responsible for Humira, a drug that treats rheumatoid arthritis and has earned the company more than $10 billion.
- Consumer Healthcare Products Association: The leading trade and lobbying organization for makers and sellers of over-the-counter drugs and nutritional supplements.
- CVS: The drug store chain with more than 7,700 locations in the United States. In 2010, a single location in Sanford, Florida, (population 53,000) ordered more than 1.8 million Oxy-Codone pills.
- Mallinckrodt Pharmaceuticals: The largest U.S. supplier, by prescription, of opioid pain-killer medications.
- Pharmaceutical Research & Manufacturers of America: One of the biggest and most influential lobbying groups in the United States, representing the interests of 48 pharmaceutical companies.
- Purdue Pharmaceuticals: Maker of OxyContin.