Pot Industry Needs to Open Its Wallet to Survive
December 1st, 2014
Policy, Top News
The movement to legalization marijuana is in danger of losing steam as major donors begin to put on the brakes, according to a November 26, 2014 report appearing in the Los Angeles Times.
With 2016 elections on the horizon, many donors are looking toward the burgeoning private sector to take the reins. These companies have generated millions of dollars in revenue due to legalization, but they have been hesitant to share much of that with those who made it possible. As a result, a tense situation has emerged within the industry that could spell trouble ahead.
For instance, ArcView held its biggest conference ever earlier this year with more than 300 pot millionaires in attendance. The conference raised just $75,000 in donations to support activist groups pushing for legalization, such as the Drug Policy Alliance. If greater sums aren’t raised moving forward, the industry could have a tough time convincing voters and lawmakers to legalize in 2016.
Analysts project that cannabis spending during the 2016 election year will be significantly greater than the spending over the past year. For instance, California’s measure is expected to cost more than campaigns in Oregon, Alaska, Washington D.C., and Florida combined. Funders on the other side of the fence are also gearing up for a fight, including the likes of Sheldon Adelson – who derailed Florida.
The death of long-time donor Peter Lewis last year nearly derailed Oregon’s entire pro-cannabis movement, highlighting the reliance of the entire industry on only a few significant donors largely focused on civil rights. Departures by other major funders could have a profound impact on legalization initiatives that may prove critical to keeping the movement’s momentum through 2016’s elections.
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