Paying Off Congress to Legalize Cannabis

By David Jenison on February 6, 2018

The way to a man's heart is through his stomach, unless that man is a politician, in which case it's through his wallet. That's the bet cannabis-business owners seem to be making to secure their future, at least according to a new USA Today survey

"Hundreds of thousands of dollars [are] flowing from the cannabis industry into campaign finance accounts of both lawmakers and political action committees, with emphasis this year on Congressional Republicans," wrote the national paper. "Marijuana business owners are increasingly pouring their profits into lobbying lawmakers as they face a federal crackdown from the Trump administration."

On the federal level, political contributions associated with recreational cannabis heavily favored Democrats, but the cash flow has recently shifted in favor of Republicans, per OpenSecrets. Whereas Democrats had a 50-percentage advantage in the previous election cycle, the site suggests the Republican cash-haul advantage is now more than fourfold. (Buying off Christian family values doesn't come cheap.)

The Center for Responsive Politics, which analyzed contributions on behalf of the paper, confirmed the shift. In connection with this lobbying shift, more Republicans are willing to frame legalization within a state's rights argument. If this helps neuter Jeff Sessions and hasten the end of prohibition, more power—or should we say cash—to them. 

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