According to sources for the Washington Reporter, Rand Paul is getting significant financial support from some surprising sources for a conservative Republican: the marijuana industry.
Two major cannabis organizations, the Marijuana Policy Project and the National Cannabis Industry Association, each gave the maximum legal amount that a political committee can give a candidate: $5,000.
Rand Paul’s public campaign finance records also indicate that the National Cannabis Industry Association’s executive director and its federal lobbyist each kicked in $2,000 more.
Overall, Rand Paul’s campaign has raised close to $9.4 million, but the Libertarian conservative, who is running for the GOP presidential nomination, has garnered about the same amount of support from mainstream companies like Chevron and Facebook as he has in donations from cannabis advocates.
According to Kerry Murakami, “The contributions to Paul — the first made in a presidential campaign by the Washington, D.C.-based groups — reflect the alliances that marijuana activists are making with conservatives. Though many Republicans oppose legalizing pot, some including Paul believe that states should be left to make their own marijuana policies.”
But Paul himself has stopped short of calling for federal legalization of marijuana, which puts him behind progressives like Bernie Sanders when it comes to marijuana policy.
But that’s not the only support from marijuana supporters that Paul is getting, despite his stance on legalization. Surprisingly, “marijuana advocates are also donating to so-called super-PACs formed to campaign on his behalf.
ICC Holdings LLC — owner of Revolution Cannabis, an Illinois-based medicinal cannabis cultivator — gave $15,000 to America’s Liberty PAC, which is backing Paul’s election but is not subject to the same campaign finance limits,” said Murakami.
Furthermore, Scott Banister, an angel investor and marijuana rights activist, donated $1.25 million to Concerned American Voters, another PAC backing Paul, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.
The contributions reflect a growing emphasis on federal policy by marijuana advocates. Despite success legalizing pot in Oregon, Washington state and Washington, D.C., federal laws that criminalize cannabis still pose problems such as keeping legal marijuana businesses from putting profits into a bank.