It's more than a little odd that the Community Anti-Drug Coalition of America (CADCA) and the other groups leading the fight against relaxing marijuana laws, including the Partnership for Drug-Free Kids (formerly the Partnership for a Drug-Free America), derive a significant portion of their budget from opioid manufacturers and other pharmaceutical companies, reports The Nation. Critcs say this funding has shaped the organization's policy goals: CADCA takes a softer approach toward prescription-drug abuse, limiting its advocacy to a call for more educational programs, and has failed to join the efforts to change prescription guidelines in order to curb abuse.
In contrast, CADCA and the Partnership for Drug-Free Kids have adopted a hard-line approach to marijuana, opposing even limited legalization and supporting increased police powers. Patrick Kennedy, son of the late Senator Ted Kennedy, did several stints in rehab after crashing his car into a barricade on Capitol Hill in 2006. Last year, he helped found an advocacy group, Project SAM (Smart Approaches to Marijuana), opposes the growing state and federal efforts to legalize pot. Taking the stage to rousing applause last February, Kennedy joined more than 2,000 opponents of marijuana legalization at CADCA’s annual convention. Given that CADCA is dedicated to protecting society from dangerous drugs, the event had a curious sponsor: Purdue Pharma, the manufacturer of Oxy-Contin, the highly addictive painkiller that nearly ruined Kennedy's congressional career and has been linked to thousands of overdose deaths nationwide.