There are times when all you can do is sit back and laugh at the absurdity of it all.
Regular visitors to The Daily Leaf may have noted our article about the financial muscle that Insys Therapeutics – manufacturer of Subsys, a fentanyl derived opioid painkiller – has been throwing behind the anti-cannabis campaign in Arizona. With substantial and growing evidence of patients substituting cannabis for opiates, it’s not hard to imagine why the manufacturers of high grade pharmaceutical painkillers might not be thrilled about the potential bite into their market share. What’s more, Insys produces two cannabis derived pharmaceutical products.
What we didn’t mention is that Insys Therapeutics has got into an unrelated hot mess of its own. In ongoing cases, Insys and its sales representatives stand accused of using financial kickbacks to induce doctors to prescribe their painkillers for off-label uses.
And in a twist worthy of the The Onion but reported by Reuters, former Insys sales rep Jeffrey Pearlman has filed a petition to be allowed to continue using medical marijuana while he is incarcerated during his trial. The medical marijuana, he maintains, is crucial to keep his addiction to – you guessed it – opiate pain killers at bay.
Yes, indeed, this former employee of the very same company that has been trying to fight against cannabis legalization while (allegedly) illegally inducing doctors to prescribe highly addictive painkillers is now asking the court to allow him to smoke pot in jail. So that he can stay off of the pills.
Welcome to crazy town.
Pearlman argues that the Court is violating his sixth amendment right to participate in his own defense, as he would be unable to do so were his lack of access to cannabis to retrigger his opiate addiction.
We certainly can’t comment on whether cannabis is crucial to Pearlman’s defense, but given the Schedule I status of cannabis, it seems highly unlikely that its use will be allowed by a federal court.
Regardless, when a former professional pill pusher – once employed by one of the major players on the United States anti-cannabis scene – tells the court that medical marijuana is his only way to avoid the horrors of opiate addiction, it seems to us that it’s worth listening.