The Marijuana Lobby’s Deep Pockets
At one time the marijuana lobby may have belonged to the political Left. In today’s world the marijuana lobby brings together the Koch Brothers with the supporters of George Soros and other liberal groups.
Industry groups are pulling the wool over our head for the sake of winning, and for greed and profit. Most people don’t even notice. Because 90% of the money that paid for the Colorado legalization initiative was not local money, other states need to be aware of this possibility, too.
The Koch Brothers poured their money into Reason and the Cato Institute, Libertarian organizations that are outspoken in their support for legalizing all drugs. Furthermore, Charles Koch supports summer interns who work on policy organizations such as the Drug Policy Action Committee.
Support of marijuana legalization is central to George Soros and his policy ambitions, since he’s given nearly $100 million to pot legalization causes, including $1 million to the failed effort of Proposition 19 in California. Soros’ Open Society funded the publication of a book, Michelle Alexander’s The New Jim Crow, a book which purposefully states falsehoods about the number of people incarcerated for marijuana possession alone, which is less than 1% in the US.
The Press largely stands by the lobbyists, taking up the stories planted by them, such as a recent Washington Post article on pot tourism in Colorado and a story about a new lobbyist for the pot industry in our nation’s capital. Here’s a page which has tracked the Press’ biased reporting well.
Washington DC recently decriminalized marijuana with a $25 fine, with only one city council member, Yvette Alexander, taking a stand against the powerful marijuana lobby. Alexander sits on the Board of Take Charge Program, a juvenile diversion and gang prevention program. The three major candidates in the April 1st mayoral campaign competed with each other to get the support of marijuana lobbyists, whose money feeds many political campaigns.
Recent Losses Prove Legalization Is Not Inevitable
Despite the deep pockets of the marijuana groups and PACs, such as NORML and Drug Policy Action Committee, recent legalization efforts backfired in New Hampshire, Hawaii and Maine. There is a push among Maryland legislators to legalize it, too, though the current governor will veto it. Nonetheless, Kevin Sabet of Project SAM (Smart Approaches to Marijuana, said that “legalization is by no means inevitable.” He continued, “We will educate and we will stop it.”
Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake is strongly against the legalization of marijuana, and prefers treating it like a health issue, similar to Project SAM. She will have few in her camp, because too many politicians fear standing up to the greed and hype put on by an industry which intends to profit from abuse and get young users.
Follow the Money
Colorado demonstrates how out-of-state money can buy an issue for the benefit of a few people. The major donors were Out-of-State In-state
The Campaign to Regulate Marijuana $1,161,356 $145,314
Citizens for Responsible Legalization $875,650 $13,980 The Coalition to End Marijuana Prohibition $260,889 $30,676
Drug Policy Action Colorado Committee $90,000 -0-
(Above statistics from Google docs, 11/13/2012) That same year, A Democratic primary race for the Oregon Attorney General revealed how the lobby works. Two thirds of the campaign contributions to the winner, Ellen Rosenblum, were from that lobby, including Drug Policy Action, John Sperling, an Arizona resident who is the founder of the University of Phoenix, and Citizens for Sensible Law Enforcement, which paid for $53,000 in ads against her opponent. (The opponent had called medical marijuana in the state a train wreck, but Rosenblum had promised to make prosecution of medical marijuana violations a low priority.) However, at the time, Oregon’s Department of Justice was part of a multi-state investigation into for-profit universities, which includes Sperling’s University of Phoenix.
Another large pro-marijuana donor, Peter Lewis, funded the successful ballot for medical marijuana in Massachusetts in 2012. He was not a resident of the state. A personal injury lawyer in Tampa, John Morgan, has poured his millions into the current attempt to put a medical-marijuana initiative on the ballot this November.
As the marijuana industry claims, many small donors fund their cults. But they couldn’t pull it off without the billionaires’ donations.