Today, Smart Approaches to Marijuana (SAM), the nation’s leading, non-partisan non-profit dedicated to opposing marijuana commercialization and holding Big Marijuana accountable, released a thoroughly renovated database with the most up-to-date information available on political contributions made by the marijuana industry to federal elected officials.

The database now includes donations from K Street lobbying firms that work for the marijuana industry, like Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck (for the Cannabis Trade Federation) and Squire Patton Boggs (for John Boehner’s National Cannabis Roundtable).

“The flow of political donations from the marijuana industry to elected officials has grown exponentially over the last few years as massive investment from the titans of addiction has increased,” said Dr. Kevin Sabet, president of SAM and a former senior drug policy advisor to the Obama Administration. “Big Marijuana is dutifully following the playbook of Big Tobacco and part of that strategy was greasing the wheels on public policy with donations. Another key aspect was keeping those donations under the radar, we aren’t going to let that happen.”

This initiative seeks to expose elected officials who pocket money from the marijuana industry and then support policies that would benefit the pot profiteers, such as granting the industry investor access or tying the hands of the FDA from being able to have even basic oversight of the industry.

The Top Five Recipients of Marijuana Industry Donations in Congress

Representative Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) – $103,500
Representative Kathleen Rice (D-NY) – $76,800
Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) – $50,300
Senator Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV) – $32,600
Representative Dave Joyce (R-OH) – $29,700

A 2018 IPSOS poll found 44% of Americans are less likely to support elected officials who take Big Marijuana’s money, yet more and more politicians are on the receiving end of substantial contributions.

“We will continue to expose those who take pot money,” continued Dr. Sabet. “Elected officials should realize taking federally illegal money from an addiction-for-profit industry is dramatically unpopular. With the Surgeon General raising the alarm on the dangers of marijuana commercialization and normalization, and Big Tobacco and Big Pharma stepping in, we can only expect this to become even more unpopular.”

Colton Grace

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