Marinol Vs. Medical Marijuana: Millions Invested by Paradise Valley Man Trying to Create Stoner Oil

The Arizona Republic took a sober look this morning at the issue of a marijuana-based drug and the Phoenix company trying to legally earn cartel-level salaries with it. The article covered the toils of wealthy entrepreneur John Kapoor, who has invested $40 million of his own stash in his company, Insys Therapeutics, to try to make generic Marinol.

Left mostly unsaid, except for a couple of garbled quotes by Allen St. Pierre of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, is the question of why such a drug is necessary when an easy-to-grow weed does the same thing, but better. A mere legislative act would eliminate the need for Marinol, which is based on the active ingredients in pot.

The article also didn't mention how the market for Marinol is doing in California, where more than 200,000 people are registered medical marijuana users and selling pot is a legitimate job. The anti-Marinol movement in California seems to have an even brighter future since U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder called off the dogs.

That fact makes this statement from the article sort of baffling:

Kapoor said that fewer people will turn to the black market to purchase marijuana if more effective types of the synthetic version were available.

Marinol isn't a new drug, either. It's been around for years, mostly ineffective yet pushed by those who want to keep marijuana illegal. Some patients just can't stomach it:

Critics of Marinol point out that the drug doesn't work for everybody. The drug is stored in sesame oil and is absorbed by individuals at different rates. Some patients suffering from nausea simply cannot hold down the drug long enough to benefit. Others report feeling anxious after taking the drug.

Another weird thing is how the DEA has gummed up the works at Insys by delaying approval of its planned product:

... such drugs are subject to an evaluation of eight factors that measure a drug's potential for abuse. The spokeswoman said the agency does not comment on cases being reviewed.

It sounds like the DEA's test won't involve any actual science, and besides, we can tell them the answer:

The potential for abuse is -- high.

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Ray Stern has worked as a newspaper reporter in Arizona for more than two decades. He's won numerous awards for his reporting, including the Arizona Press Club's Don Bolles Award for Investigative Journalism.