Several academic researchers who have been well represented in the media as anti-cannabis have recently been found to be paid consultants for major pharmaceutical manufactures, VICE reports.  

The recent report states that many of the researchers who have advocated against legalizing cannabis are on the payroll of leading pharmaceutical firms with painkilling products that could be easily replaced by using marijuana. Of course, it's only now that these drug-industry ties are being made public.

The report names two professors at Columbia University and Harvard Medical School who have been quoted in CNBC, NPR and CBS as taking stances against cannabis use because they believed it would lead to widespread addiction issues and social problems.

One professor, who is known to have been a consultant to the manufactures of several leading opioid pain killing medications, has been key in the cannabis debate, having been cited in the New York State Association of Chiefs of Police in its opposition to marijuana legalization, and has been published by the American Psychiatric Association in the organization's statement warning against marijuana for medicinal uses.

Could there be a conflict of interest? The opioid painkiller industry is a multibillion dollar business that has faced rising criticism. Painkillers now cause about 16,000 deaths a year--more than heroin and cocaine combined. Researchers view marijuana as a safe alternative to opioid products like OxyContin. There are no known overdose deaths from cannabis.

The article concludes with this statement: "What does it say about medical academia today that many of that painkiller-funded researchers are now standing in the way of a safer alternative: smoking a joint."

Indeed, this is further proof that as cannabis advocates, we have an uphill battle to wage. 

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